The Time is Coming

The time is coming…  Every career, every life, has an end.   Today, I barely made it through my three, hour-and-a-half classes.  My lesson had to be cut short and I had to show movies.  I can’t breathe.  My diabetes lowered my blood sugar to the point that I was unconscious for brief periods of time while students watched Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.  I know… I know…  I should’ve called somebody.  If I die in my classroom in front of some of my students it is going to traumatize them, some of them severely.  Why did I risk it?

One thing is the money.  Every day I am absent because of health, it costs me a day’s salary, $330. I need to fulfill my contract for the school year because I need the money I am owed for teaching.  I will retire when this year is over… if I survive.  I don’t have a choice.  And I have earned a full retirement from the Texas Education System.  I will not be penniless.  That is not the reason I have to keep working.  Maybe I should quit tomorrow.

Still, there is work to be done.  Critical work.  I have the ability to go into a classroom and provide them with what they need most… belief in themselves.  They come to me with their own individual stories, their own problems, their own labels.

“I’m a bad kid,” says one.  “I get in trouble in every class.  I’m every teacher’s nightmare.”

“I’m stupid,” says another.  “I fail most of my classes.  I can’t learn.”

“I’m ugly and will always be alone,” says the third one.  “No one likes me.  If I were somebody else, looking at the me I am now, I wouldn’t like me either.”

Those three kids are always there, every class… every day…  If I don’t do something, they could give up.  They could drop out.  They could die.  I know for a fact that this is so, because sometimes that is exactly what happens.  And if I am teaching that day… at least there is a chance.  I have said the right words… sometimes.  I have done the right things… sometimes.  We do not live in a world without hope.  I am not without some power.  There are other teachers who do what I do, but they are not plentiful.  I am still needed.

But the time is coming…  I can’t go on much longer.  I’m sorry I am not funny today.  I don’t feel much like laughing.  But I still have the power to write.  I still have the right words.  I have to keep telling the story until there is no more.

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