It Was Bound to Happen Eventually
September 12, 2008 in The Way It Were
Tags: buzzcut, city, college, easy, fired, haired, harvard. shoot, history, long, pictures, pothead, schools, science, social, state, student, teaching, university
As a school photographer, I take pictures at schools. It was only a matter of time before the school I student taught at would come up. I worried at first, given my history.
Fortunately, my initial anxiety proved unfounded — besides the customarily cool-blooded greeting I always got from a certain teacher, puzzled indignation from across the room by way of another, and an awkward, friendly joviality from the principal, taking pictures there was a blast. Of course, once word got around that I was on campus, and I use that cliche liberally, just a few familiar faces came up to say hello.
Four of my trouble students stopped by; since last semester, these now-juniors had decided to get back on track. As they left, I ensured they had their priorities straight.
You’re graduating; you’re going to college — right? All of them, unequivocally, gave me the right answer.
I accept it, because, as my master teacher had noted, even if they’re telling me what I want to hear, at least they’re hearing themselves say it. One of the students went as far as to say that I was his favorite teacher, and the reason he was doing better this semester, but I doubt it — his parents weren’t happy come open house, and he always did tend to gild the lily.
The long-haired pothead who played hooky more often than not, and was more than a little belligerent during my student teaching semester, got a buzzcut and earned a honor roll grade-point average this semester. Because he had the most dramatic turnaround, I took the time to get in one more piece of advice as he sauntered away:
Don’t aim for City College: Shoot for State.
What are you talking about? I’m shooting for Harvard.
That’s the spirit.
Every day, we experience a thousand moments, each of those moments setting in motion a thousand slightly different possibilities in the future. When we make these choices, we are thrust toward another day's crossroads, where we have another thousand choices.
Given the infinite number of choices we make in a lifetime, why do we choose so many of the same routes and make just as many of the same mistakes as our parents and grandparents?
I plan to learn from their mistakes. Let's see how far I get.
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