Letters from an Anonymous friend is an almost weekly thing here on Screwed Up Texan, where I post emails from my long-time friend…with permission of course. Usually.
In college, a professor showed us a video clip about a group of cowboys herding cats and acting like it was the greatest thing on earth. I thought it was funny, even a little stupid, but nothing more than an amusement. Then he told us that herding cats was like teaching (despite the commercial for a computer company at the end).
I thought he was nuts.
Some years later I became a teacher and suddenly I understood. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of jobs out there that involve dealing with other people, unpredictable daily situations, and leave battle stories to tell around the campfire, but I’m talking about teaching. Good ol’ fashioned teacher-and-student interaction where learning takes place. My friend the Texan may call it babysitting (and there are days when that’s what I feel like I’m doing, too), but its work! Anyone out there have kids? Multiply that by 10-15 for five 50 minute increments and then see how you like it.
But here’s the thing, I enjoy my job. I enjoy herding cats for a living. Yes, my students are like cats because they are so damn unpredictable in what they say or do (like the kid who de-pants-ed himself in the middle of class) that I just had to start writing it all down! Really, who would believe us?! Everything from footprints on the table tops in a science class (hmm, wonder how those got there) to someone trying to light a penny on fire in the corner in the non-science class to the kid who literally chomped his pencil to pieces. Honestly, you never know what will happen next.
And just when I think I’m gonna pull my hair out or let little Billy know what I really think of him, someone says, “Oh, I get it!” Or they correct another student so I don’t have to, or defend me against a smart aleck, or just say, “Miss, that’s so cool. Thanks.” That makes it worth it. When they do something that tells me that they’re better people than they were when they first walked through my door THAT makes it all worth it. Screw the content (well, not entirely), I’d rather they walk out the door in June decent human beings with a decent sense of who they are and where they’re headed in life.
Oh, they’re still cats doing their thing and we’re still cat herders swapping stories about this or that battle wound, but, like that one cowboy in the commercial says, “I wouldn’t do nothin’ else.”