Well, it’s Tuesday, the 13th of December and the Christmas grind is on! In the past three days I’ve spent hours upon hours Christmas shopping and decorating, all in between working and tutoring, eating and sleeping. Looking ahead there doesn’t seem to be any letdown, but it only happens once a year, so…
What happened to the old John, huh? I once actually wrote an article called, Why I Hate Christmas, and I meant it when I wrote it. I still kinda mean it now, but yeah, there are things about Christmas I like, and besides I’m still riding a high where my mood is elevated and I don’t know why, but I’d like to keep it bottled up for awhile. Maybe it’ll change later this week, but I hope not.
The Time Has Come!
This Friday, my neighbor and friend Terry is having her annual Christmas party and for the first time ever, I am led to believe that Joe and his new love will be there. There’ve been a couple of close calls in the past, but it never materialized, much to my relief, but this time I think it’s finally going to happen. I’m going to meet him and the butterflies and the weirdness are already beginning to settle in. Stay tuned…
Giving Thanks – My Students
I’m catching up on my thanks today with a nod to my students, both past and present. I’ve already said how thankful I was to have found the job I was meant to do, and I am fortunate enough to get up every day looking forward to going to work. My students mean a lot to me, and I to them, and almost every day I get to experience a special kind of love and appreciation for my second family. Here are just a couple of examples:
A couple of weeks ago when I was on my way to work, one of my students texted a photo to me. It was a picture of a Turkish breakfast his mother had prepared that morning and the caption beneath the picture said, “Mr. Myers, don’t eat your Pop Tarts. I’m bringing you breakfast.” This wasn’t the first time a student has done that for me, and yes, I do eat Pop Tarts (Brown Sugar Cinnamon) a couple of times a week. Whenever I get a new student I always give the same speech:
Now Mr. Myers loves to eat, and he especially enjoys trying new foods, so if your mom ever makes a dish from your country, I would always gladly take some.
Of course I say it in jest, but I kind of mean it, lol, and over the years I’ve had plenty of delicious things brought to me, like pupusas from El Salvador, tamales from Guatemala, stuffed Turkish grape leaves (or “dolma”), Russian beet salad (surprisingly delicious!), and a whole host of other things I can’t even remember, and they always seem to take pleasure in bringing it to me. It’s just one of those special perks about being a teacher.
We Are Family!
Last week a new student arrived in my class, a 12 year old Colombian girl, and once the usual introductions were done I decided to ask the students to tell her what to expect from ESL class instead of me running through my regular spiel. One of my students, Eli, said this to her in Spanish (I’m paraphrasing):
This class is like your home while you’re in school and us, well, we’re like Mr. Myers children.
I was taken surprise by what she had said, because it wasn’t what I expected her to say, but it was a really nice thing to hear and well, it’s true. My students are like my children, and I tell them that whenever they ask me why I don’t have any of my own, which is true. I believe that’s part of my purpose in life; that I was born gay and leaned towards teaching so that I would have some sort of fatherly role in life, which I think I do pretty well.
My classroom is like a family in a lot of ways. We argue with one another, we laugh together and we learn a lot of things about life from each other along the way, in addition to them learning English. I am their teacher, their advocate, and I try to give them the kind of care that these special kids can only get from someone in my position, and the joy I get out of them is truly immeasurable, and it is everlasting.
I’ve long considered my classroom as an extended family of sorts, and just because one leaves my program or graduates from high school doesn’t mean that they’re out of the family. I keep in regular contact with many of my former students like the Sandovals, Supi (who now lives in Bonaire), Eddy, Angelo and Steven, Henry and Sonia, and of course Max. Max was my first student and he graduated my class back in 2007, but he’s managed to stay in my life in a special way, dropping by to shoot the breeze with his teacher every once in awhile. We’re never at a loss for conversation and in a lot of ways I still am his teacher.
So there’s a big, special appreciation that I carry with me each and every day of my life. I am blessed in a lot of ways and I think learning to appreciate them is a great way to live life and enjoy it for whatever it is. For whatever it’s worth, thank you again for reading my blog. I know I’ve expressed appreciation to my readers in the past, but I want those who remain to know that I do appreciate your readership. Have an awesome day!