Jan 14, 2011

Teacher Man

I've got these ideas and stories thirsting to get out of my system and onto this blog, but I'm on that "I'm feeling too self-conscious about my writing ability that my ass subconsciously refuses to sit and my fingers refuse to type" part of my blog cycle.


But fuck that.


I was sick last Wednesday. I slept from 6pm Tuesday to 1pm Wednesday. With maybe 2 hours of consciousness inbetween to eat, drink medicine, and create sub plans. The sub I requested went by the name of "Sheppard." Whatevs I thought.

He e-mailed me later that night, sharing that it was only his 2nd day on the job as a sub. He shared his history as an EE major with 4 years worth of calculus experience. He wanted input on his performance as a substitute for the day and he shared what went on w/ my students while I was out. Nice, I thought. A sub who cares about his work.


I knew Thursday would be a "lemme get through this" kinda day cus I was still sick. But my students are awesome and it was great to be back. I asked about the sub. The kids all shared that they liked him. I looked forward to relaying the message.


Just now, a bearded man (white beard) walks through my classroom door, lookin' like a nerdy version of Santa Claus. But a cool nerd, though. Smily when he talks. Made me feel happy right when I shook his hand. It's Sheppard.

What I thought would be a quick 5 minute check-in of his sub day becomes a more than half hour conversation of teaching, histories of our lives, and why we're now here. He's a man of 62. Previously a software developer who made bank, so he stepped outta work for 10 years cus "let's just say, he had enough money to do so" (his words, not mine). He looked around for a new software developer position when he felt antsy, but said it didn't feel right. He only half-liked his previous two jobs. He shared that the only interaction he got was w/ his computer and with "nerds" (his words, not mine). He wants something that's got a mission, that's got direction, that's got impact and purpose. He's got the bug to be in the classroom. He wants to be a teacher. He wants to be a teacher for kids like the kids we've got here in Oakland. So, after reading a few books on teaching and on subbing. He's here as a sub....

I'm a man of 25. Yet, this man 37 years older who's got the beard of a wise man is here now asking me about my passions for teaching, my methods, and picking my brain to see how he can better himself in the classroom. We talk about schools and kids and classroom management plans and etc. I applaud him for his desire to step in and teach. I share that I firmly believe a teacher is the one factor that can make the most immediate impact to students... to get them interested in school again... to get them interested in the content your teaching. I say, if there's a place that needs great teachers it's Oakland. He knows it. We're on the same page.

1 comment:

susayoun said...

Love this post! Hope you're feeling better. Sounds like Sheppard continue to talk.