ANY: My heroes

Hero Songwriters Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff

There’s a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don’t have to be afraid
Of what you are

There must be a little Irish in me, for I get very sentimental from time to time. I think often of teachers as a form of salvation, and often, the things that can’t be quantified in the endless testing that goes on. I have always admired teachers. I am so glad there are people like Lisa Waxler around, who are so clear headed.

There’s an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

When I think of Julie Bradford with the way she treats her class as a town of citizens who must come to grips with dealing with each other (year of Malik and Vincenzo). When I think of Crystal Bynum with her firm reserve. When I think of Janice Miller taking on kids no one else really wants in their classroom. I miss watching Jill Sherman tons and what she used to do, and Chinese New Year and her Oscars.

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive

There are so many great teachers, Agnes Pagan, who I’ve stood and watched her with her kids on line, trying to teach them respect by having them respect themselves as well as others. I think of Kearney working against odds year and yet bringing them all together after this year struggling against so many diversions. There is also Snoles and Klunk and quiet ones like Calderale and Markley. I love how Perez gets them all in line and so on. . .I miss Andy and his Indian games. I miss Roz.

So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

Shier complained so bitterly about changing grade levels, only to find herself alive in first, and back unhappily to happy ever after in 3rd. Teachers bitch so much, and then find themselves all over again, even in the worst of classes. Like Terri and Jenny and Judith and Eleanor and Patty and Heather. And people like Payne and Nikki who happily plug along. And some like Bodney and Ricketts, whom we never quite know what they are thinking. I love the newer teachers like Jordan and McGhee who come in with so much dedication.

It’s a long road
And you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold

We hold a lot of hands. I have seen Sandy with second graders from another planet, as well as the babies, like Caleb and Jacob, whom she plods along to get them from point A to B, without incident, seemingly effortlessly. And I look at him now, and I will never forget the battles of Majdi, lying on the floor, kicking the door and refusing to go in and Suzanne with arms crossed standing over him unperturbed and resolved.

I think it was Nancy Sell, who I remember with Lucas, and she made him realize he was a whole person. And he carries that with him today. Or Carpenter with a boy named Brandon, who was adopted and gone before the year was out. Or Anthony, and the way Laura Cutler helped save him in his first year. No one really knows what Kopelman, Rush and Morrison go through.

You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

No teacher ever comes to school, and does not get immersed into another world waiting at the door as the kids come in the room. Even as you stand talking with them at the door, you can watch their brains clicking. I have seen that with Donna, Ann Jeffries, Rebecca and Sheldon.

These are moments I get great pleasure in watching the teacher “lightbulb” go on, getting into mode. The things we call shaping and modelling. I love a teacher like Laura Chambers who does things so effortlessly, who is so good at what she does. And Krista, Cristina, Deb and Gretchen. I miss being in contact every day like we used to be.

So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

There are teachers, like in 5th grade, who all have such wonderful strengths, even when they can’t see it in one another. I caught a piece of a science lesson Patti Mathews was doing and it was wonderful to watch the kids responding. And Gary such a trip, with some of the whacked out kids he gets, as he has to help untie them out of the knots they get themselves into. And he turns them into champions, and they will have that moment for the rest of their lives. A pretty neat feat.

Oh ho, Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don’t let anyone
Tear them away, hey yea

Anthony Galeano was talking about Mrs. Cennamo today and his first year with us in second.

I think of Maria, and Kristen, and of course wonderful Berenice who comes back to us time and again. I miss Cheri Behrens. Helgeson’s students are gone now, but Liz’ kindergarteners are going into fifth. You should see Stephen Eubanks now, and Hanin. Karen Gardepe and Beth, who leave us, but are always there. I thought of you Beth the other day, Liz too, as names and years on my papier mache boxes. And Toutounj and Jesse and Jamie and the one Bush I really like.

I think of teachers like Nancy Buchanan and Gloria Johnson who helped, and inspired me, as I came along. And Trevor and Lisa Recca. I think of people like Cornelius Wagner (my first art teacher), and Herbert Bierman and professors like Nancy McGhee and Chuck Dziuban.

Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time, you find the way, hey

Then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive

I think of my team and Peg, and how they move those little people along to the big people they are going to become. The ones I sometimes run into picking up their younger brothers and sisters, years later struggling to remember their name. And Yana and Javier and Winston and Shirley and Lugo, who are separated only by degree, not spirit. Remember, there are tons of people you don’t know, who like you, fill a kid’s life a little each day.

So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

That a hero lies in you
Mmm, that a hero lies in you

And my deepest thanks with all my heart to every one of you, for students who forgot to tell you personally, before they moved on to their new lives, with their new teachers. Sometimes they told me the following year, what a great teacher you really were. I thank you for administrators who forgot to tell you what a great person you are, as well as what a great teacher your are. I thank you in place of  all the crazy parents who put you through hell, one year or another. Or the idiot press and politicians who make your lives a little more hard each year.

Keep doing the things you do. My heroes.

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One Response to “ANY: My heroes”

  1. teacher Says:

    The irony. I wrote this as a hommage to the wonderful teachers I work with. I posted the link to facebook, hoping a few would stumble across it! Never happened. lol.

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