I got a whopper of a time going on out here on the island. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, I decided what it is about teaching that makes educators such hardcore superstars. When I teach sometimes I feel like a failure, sometimes I feel like a savior, either way I feel something. Which, in the end, is how they say "Worth the sauce." On the failure days I want to disintegrate into sand. On the savior days I want to beam light across the world. On the days when both happen within a moment of each other I want to turn my head to the sky and scream "MAKE UP YOUR MIND UP THERE!" I thought we were supposed to be hitting our stride ride about now. I think the pink cloud is finally gone and the bubble has burst.
I remember two distinct moments in preparing to become a teacher. The first one was when I saw the previous years Master's Teachers at my university after the end of their student teaching. They looked so hardcore. They looked like they just survived hellfire and now they are dazed, bewildered and changed soldiers. After I finished my student teaching I walked around like I wore the posture of a salty vet coming back from the jungle. I looked a new younger teacher right in the eye as they sat at Master orientation and we had the same moment. They knew by the look in my eye that it wasn't a pretty pretty tea party out there.
It wasn't until new teacher inservice that I saw the look again. This time it was more hardened and more intense. The second year teachers came into inservice on the last day. They had the look. They were nice and sweet and at the same time a bunch real hard mothers (shut yo' mouth!) Unlike the last warriors I saw returning from their first firefight in student teaching, these soldiers were different. The second year teachers wore a different look. They wore a look of desperate intensity. They were still human but the type of human that had gone through 3 mental tours of duty in education Vietnam. I remember one teacher was wearing rubber boots and a cuspuq (native local hooded sweatshirt dress thing, they're really cool). She was as nice as a Georgia peach but you could tell she was survivor. Those rubber boots weren't for show. She might as well have been wearing a camo helmet, a canteen and black paint on her face.
Am I being dramatic? No, I don't think so. When you have those moments in your own practice that put you through a booby trap ambush of napalm and landmines you know where that look comes from. I just know that I can't wait to give the newbies, fresh meat and greenhorns "the look" at inservice next year. I also can't wait to see the third years. Will they be sporting fu manchu's? Will they have soft pack cigarettes rolled up in their sleeves. Will their black issue rubber boots still shine? Will they have crazy warfield codenames like "Pit Viper" or "Jackson?" Will they have gravelly voices that boast of their triumphs and fall silent at their demons? I don't know but I'm thinking about my "War" name already though. I got one all picked out. You won't know it until you see me in person.