The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


      At around nine o'clock this evening, I dragged myself from class to the parking lot, thinking of nothing but my pajamas and a glass of chardonnay. As I climbed into my car and turned the key, the CD player awoke to blast the album that has pretty much become the theme of my life lately: Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown.
     And then it hit me. Tonight is Green Day's LA concert. As I looked at the clock I thought, they probably just took the stage. The past six months flashed before my eyes -- buying tickets to the Las Vegas concert, realizing we were too broke and too busy to afford it, selling back the tickets, Green Day announcing the LA concert, Marc asking me about buying tickets, me checking my calendar and saying, "No, we can't, I have class until late that night and it's the last one before the paper is due... besides, we can't afford it."


     Like the fact that I haven't even met my new niece yet. Or that I didn't even see Tiana's beautiful face at all today. And that I am not taking a personal day tomorrow to spend with Marc and the kids (Vinny has no school tomorrow). Priorities.  There is just too much to do.
      So, as I pulled out of the parking lot, I pumped the volume up to an intensity that would allow me to feel it in my bones, and pretty much cried the entire way home.
      Ironically, as I pushed the knob towards a certainly dangerous decibel, a providentially appropriate chorus filled my soul:
"Well I, I just want to see the light
And I, I don't want to lose my sight
Well, I, I just want to see the light
And I need to know what's worth the fight." 

      What's worth the fight?  My students are worth the fight.  The obvious progress they make each and every day -- worth the fight.  My education is worth the fight.  The impact my masters program has had on my teaching -- worth the fight.  Finishing strong and keeping my commitments -- worth the fight. Pushing my drama students to strive for excellence in exceedingly difficult endeavors... like performing Shakespeare -- worth the fight.

     And I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, I truly do. It's just that life is an insane marathon of work right now.  Much Ado About Nothing hits the stage on May 2nd, and we are far from ready, so there is much work to do on that front.  The next round of report cards is due May 7th and I have a huge pile of papers to be graded (and more on the way).  My graduate school work is all due May 9th.  I have this feeling of impending doom, like, if I let my guard down for a minute, one of my carefully cooking pots is going to boil over and burn past the point of salvaging.

Here's to friends willing to read a 32 page paper.
     And honestly, a tunnel is truly not the best description of my current situation. The light really is not at the end, but all around me.  The light is in friends from afar who post encouraging comments on facebook.  It is in my truly dedicated comrades who spent hours last Thursday sitting around my kitchen table, reading and responding to my thesis paper. The light is my devoted husband who arranged for his parents to bring my son home from youth group last night so I could have a few uninterrupted hours to work. It is in my daughter who understands that mommy needs to be on her computer and is willing to bond by just cuddling beside me on the couch in the evenings. The light is the friend who cheerfully gives of her last few days in California to help my students do Shakespeare well. The light is my incredibly selfless mother, who cleans my house and does my laundry and does whatever she can to make life... well... possible.  I see the light.

     And, I, don't want to lose my sight.

     Because it truly does take a village.  And when I get that ever-loving piece of paper on May 23rd... it is going to mean so incredibly much more than I had ever really imagined to me and to them.

Because that is the power of community.

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