I chose the wrong table today.
(Or rather, the wrong table chose me.)
Professional Development (when it comes to education) is mainly acronyms and mini-Snickers.
After last night, I woke up sleepy and defeated.
I wrote my post yesterday feeling SO sure that I had just voted for the first woman to become President and woke up to an absolute nightmare.
I dragged myself into my training thinking, “at least I can distract myself by learning how to be a better teacher to my students (especially at a time like this).”
But little did I know that that nightmare would follow me.
A woman (with bedazzled jeans, I might add) sitting next to me spoke of how proud she was that Trump was elected. How ready she was to take things back. To make a change.
And that was bothersome, but it’s Bakersfield. (I’ve seen enough testicle-like ornaments hanging on the back of lifted trucks to know that I shouldn’t expect much.)
But she didn’t stop there.
She started speaking of her students. How she was so sick of “political correctness.” How she was sick of being “accommodating.”
How people have been living and learning for thousands of years and have been doing just fine – why must we baby everyone now?!
And I thought to myself, “Do you mean when humans were only living until 35? Or when only the rich knew how to read?”
The ironic thing is that I sat there quietly because I didn’t want to offend HER. (And thus be forced to endure the rest of the training sitting there awkwardly as we completed collaborative activities together.)
I realize that I often complain about my job. That I often fear I have chosen the wrong profession.
Because it’s hard.
Teaching is really…really…hard.
Sometimes, I’m not sure I’m doing a very good job. I’m constantly rethinking my strategies and lesson plans and seating charts.
And yes, the training I attended today was long (and a little boring), yet still provided me with useful tools to take back to my classroom.
However, it was that woman and her sparkly pants that inspired me most.
It was the absolute hatred and ignorance she was spitting that reminded me why I became a teacher.
Because people suck.
(And some of those people are teaching your children.)
So yeah, I might not have the best classroom management or the most engaging lessons.
But teaching isn’t about talking at a room full of teenagers.
It’s about listening.
My students are valuable and worthwhile.
Every single one of them is deserving of an education that will give them a choice for where they take their life after school.
They are important and their voices (no matter what they may sound like) are meant to be heard.
In spite of everything, they are loved.
I feel that the current political climate is trying to take that away from so many of my students.
Because their parents may not have been born here.
Or because they might look a little different.
Or because their name is harder to pronounce.
Or because their brain thinks about things a little different.
So it’s now (more than ever) that we need to stand together. We need to stay strong. Continue to teach love, kindness, and intellect.
I look to the great women before me.
The teachers. The writers. The artists. The thinkers. The believers.
The movers & shakers.
And I am given hope. Because they didn’t just concede.
They grabbed life by the balls (not the ones hanging from the back of someone’s Ford) and took charge.
And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to teach my students (especially my young girls who may especially be feeling defeated) that life sometimes doesn’t make sense, but we can never quit and we surely can not stay quiet.
So I leave you with the immortal words of Maya Angelou… (Let’s make her proud.)
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”