The weather broke today. Tonight the air in central New Jersey tingles as it enwraps you in dry folds. My apartment smells of cookies rising in the oven. Quiet music plays. I’m comfortable listening to the crickets call one another in the dark outside my windows.
I wish I had more moments like this, but they seem few and far between. Maybe I’m only so aware of them, or maybe I appreciate them so much because they happen so infrequently.
I spend a lot of my time sending emails, planning schedules, and attending meetings. It’s what my life is made up of because I’ve decided that what’s important to me is getting a pay check so that I don’t fall further into debt from the education I bought years ago and which I’m still working to pay off today.
I want to value these quiet moments as much as I value that pay check. I’d like my priorities to shift. When you first start working in a school, you don’t know how to be yourself — every moment is a performance of some kind, and no surprise: it’s partly because the whole system is built on performance and assessment of performance. I’ve been teaching for six years, and I find it’s at the time that I’m ready to move on that I’m really starting to feel myself.
Don’t we realize that we’ve built a place in schools, that when left to it’s own devices, forces people to put on fronts and stage their lives? The children and teachers we remember are the ones that somehow, in such a constricting system, can maintain their own beliefs in who they are and what they care about.
I hope that in my time teaching I’ve made some kind of difference in the life of some young person. I guess the question I start hearing myself ask is: how much am I aware of and appreciate the differences I make in my own life? I’m beginning to think that It starts with fully and wholeheartedly enjoying those moments that are actually my own.