As I write these words, I am sitting once again at my tired old desk in my conversant classroom. I am actually at a teacher training session in the high school, however during a break, I stole away to my room. I look around and see how the chamber weathered the summer and find my ship disheveled at best.
There are unfamiliar boxes scattered about, obtrusive and curious in their placement. My bobble-head Batman lies face down, and I still haven’t found my trash can. Amongst other refuse, there is a brazen half-drunk to-go cup, straw intact, sitting proudly on my filing cabinet amid folders with lessons taught and yet to be taught again. My favorite observation, from my metaphorical captain’s chair, are the student desks aligned with unfeeling attention as if they are waiting for young souls to give them reason.
I love it. It’s like seeing an old friend with messed up hair, one you care about dearly.
And then the conversation starts:
From the floor (a book apparently fell and was never picked up), Shelly yells, “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.” A bitter warning to the entitled and arrogant. But the arrogant know all the best words, so this aphorism is null.
And then, from the bookshelf, Bradbury states, “It’s not going to do any good to land on Mars if we’re stupid.” I like Bradbury, and of all the authors, he is probably the one we read the most. His warnings on the abuse of technology always seem apt and eagerly grasped by the students.
The conversation continues, as from my desk I pluck up “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. Our relationship is once again renewed as I pilfer through old pages scripted by a man much wiser than I. He tells me in his Massachusetts accent, “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” I like this, and I appreciate this way of thinking: an intention toward kindness rather than greed.
Outside my room, I can hear the other teachers dutifully returning to the meeting place. I guess the break is over, in more ways than one. On the way out the door, I see the book, “Eli the Good,” by Silas House. I abruptly hear the author whisper, “Sometimes just being still is the best thing you can do for yourself.” And I briefly wonder, as I slowly turn out the lights, if I’m quiet or “still” maybe I can stay in here with the characters from these books: The Lost Boys from Neverland, the invisible man, or even Grendel. Somewhere, there amongst my books, I am sure Tom Sawyer agrees with this thought.
In response, I walk deliberately back through the semi-dark room, the air heavy with text and temptation, and I adjust my bobble-head Batman to his sentinel watch over my desk . . . then I go back to my teacher training session.
Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at CHS. He can be contacted at Theteachersdesk.email@example.com.