Tuesday, January 8, 2013

in the stacks...

i found this gem hidden in a used book store. i pulled the dusty book of the shelf and flipped open to this page. after a day much like today, hard and long, but I knew somehow that it was all worthwhile... tears streamed down my face as i read.

a copy of 'the teacher's treasure chest' by leo deuel, published in 1956.

the teacher's prayer
by gabriela mistral
(translated by james h. mclean)

lord, thou who didst teach, forgive me for teaching,
and for presuming to carry the name of a teacher,
a name that thou didst carry while on earth.
give me a single-hearted love for my school,
so that not even the blazing whirl of beauty could steal from me my tenderness
at all times.
teacher, make my fervor everlasting and my despondency a passing phase.
snatch from my this impure desire for justice that still troubles me -
this protest that arises within me when i am grieved.
grant that when my pupils neglect me, i may not be forlorn
nor be pained when they misunderstand me.
make me more of a mother than all the mothers,
in order that i may love and defend, with like devotion,
those who are not flesh from my flesh.
grant that i may be successful in moulding one of my pupils
into my perfect poem,
and in weaving her into my most haunting melody,
against the day when the song of my lips shall be silent.
show me how they gospel is possible in this day and agel,
so that i may never renounce the good fight of faith.
in my democratic school let thy radiance
rest upon the circle of barefoot boys.
make me strong even in my position -
that of a poor and despised woman.
help me to scorn all power that is not pure
and all force that is not in harmony with they flaming will.
friend, stand by my side, sustain me.
many times i shall have no one but thee on my side,
when my doctrine is purer and my truth is glowing,
i shall be alone, but thou shalt press me to thy heart,
thou who wert lonely and forsaken.
i shall seek approbation only in thy look.
give me simplicity and give me depth.
free me from the temptation of being vainglorious
or commonplace in my teaching.
permit me to lift my eyes from my wounded breast each morning
as i enter my school.
 grant that i may never carry to my desk my petty cares,
my trifling disappointments.
may my hand be light in punishment and smooth in caresses.
help me to reprove with pain
that i may be sure that while i am correcting i yet love the child.
grant that my school may be not built of bricks but of spirit.
may the splendor of my enthusiasm be reflected from the bare walls
and fill the classroom.
let my heart be a sustaining bulwark and my good will be a brighter gold
than all the gold and all the pillars in the halls of the wealthy.
let this be my supreme lesson, inspired by the pallid beauty of velasquez' 'crucifixion' -
to reach and love with fervor on this earth
means to enter, finally, with the spear-thrust of longinus, the roman centurion,
into the throbbing, cosmic heart of Love.


today, i came home disheveled.

sweater sleeves hanging loosely from too much rolling up.
hair doing a strange flippy thing over my turtleneck.
school i.d. still on.
make-up worn off.
boots scuffed.
looking like shitake mushrooms.
and do not smell much better.

but today, i was told 'thank you' today by a colleague.

and a student said he was sorry.

and although i spent 12 hours inside the high school building, and i heard it was a beautiful day, it was worth it.

i do not know when my self esteem told me this, but i believe it.

with every fiber of my being, i believe my work is worth it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

hello, friends.

summer is wrapping up.

i'm gearing up for school. all day long i think about lesson plans, school supplies & back-to-school outfits. man, i love my job.

here are some things, i've been mulling over:

fall is great. i can't wait to wear boots & scarves, watch football & drink cider.

i am destined to not finish 'east of eden' ever. too dark. too scary. not worth it.

i love crafts. lately i've been making friendship bracelets, a way cool magazine project, & thinking of some new embroidery patterns. i have forgotten how therapeutic & relaxing it can be to make something with one's hands. i'm so glad i've remembered now.

downton abbey is the greatest show. ever. ever. ever.

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
- Mary Oliver

mary oliver is one of my most favorite people in the world. she has an incredibly uncanny gift to take a moment or a thought and wrap it perfectly in words so as to send out a package of grace and light to the world. i deeply admire her. and lately, i've been thinking. i love teaching. i love my husband. i love this place in our lives where we truly believe anything is possible. what a gift.

thank you, LORD.