It's hard to offer a really good answer. Simply put, my response to teaching varies by the day: some days I think I'm actually doing a good job, some days I wonder how it is that I'm still walking, other days I praise God that the wheels remain on the proverbial bus.
I have sought for an image, a symbol, to offer people in the hopes that it might encapsulate the experiences of this first-year high school teacher. There have been many to choose from:
- a refugee
- a patient who is now cancer free but who had to have a limb amputated
- Miguel Pro, who was executed while calling out "Viva Cristo Rey!"
- For that matter, any martyr willing to die for a cause strongly held
- A ring master at a circus of the absurd
The list, undoubtedly, could continue on for a long time.
Yet none of them really captures my true feelings. The wonder. The awe. The excitement. The at-times absurdity. The admixture of joy and terror at 1:59 on a Friday, knowing that only 45 minutes with my 8th-period stand between me and the weekend.
So this morning, I offer to you the symbol that stands for how I feel I've been doing as a teacher:
First aired on SNL in 1989, Toonces the Driving Cat was a figure referenced several times by a professor of mine back at Fordham (Kudos, Terry Klein). There's something cute, innocent, and harmless about this image; something totally incongruous with the picture: a cat driving a car! Despite the cuteness of the scene, things don't seem to end well for the passengers in a car driving by Toonces, the Driving Cat.
So here you have my symbol: a driving cat. I did the best I could and I hope that all of the students will walk away from the semester a little wiser, a little more knowledgeable, and not having sustained any long term injuries.