Saturday, February 10, 2007

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul

It's become unseasonably warm in Houston over the past week. I don't actually think the rising temperatures are unseasonable, they're actually quite normal, but it's nice to think that this is a little reprieve from a cold winter like I used to find in places north of here.

With the warm weather has come the return of one of my favorite things: sleeping with the window open. There is something about the sound of the night and a cool breeze with a heavy comforter that has always made me sleep sounder. I used to hate it in the summer when my mom would finally decide it was time to turn on the air conditioner and force me to close my windows until September.

The sounds have changed a bit from those nights in Kansas. I'm closer to the highway now, so there's more traffic sounds, but I don't care. It's quiet enough to feel the rest in the air and that's nice. One of my balcony neighbors has a wind chime hanging up that I only hear when the balcony door or my window is opn. I love the sound.

I can't even figure out why I like the wind chime so much, but I'm laying here now (warm comforter in place) listening to it blow in the breeze and I actually just feel better. There's something about the noise that makes me think of travel, of the places I'm going and the places I've been. I like that.

I've spent a lot of time this week being frustrated and angry. Frustrated with my students, my administration and myself. It's hard to keep perspective in the world I work in. Sometimes I legitimately have to ask myself what I'm doing in my classroom. Am I there to get them to pass a test? Am I there to finally make DeUndre see beyond himself or teach Isabel some compassion? Am I there to teach them how to be people or to motivate them into making life better for themselves? Or am I just there to babysit and pass them on to another teacher who has far more to teach in far less time than seems remotely fair for anyone?

These days it's all about the test. Ten days. We've got ten days until the biggest measure of my first year as a teacher. But that's not really true. My test scores matter to me, they really do. I want all my students to pass. I want to be a successful teacher, but more than that my scores are just a stop on the road.

I lie here tonight and I think about Ireland and the wind on the Cliffs of Moor and the exhilaration I felt walking to the edge. I think of the mist settling in the valleys in southern Indiana as I drove to work every morning. I think of New York and South Carolina and Spain and Nipro and every other place I've ever been. The memories rush back when I hear that chime in my courtyard. It just makes me wonder how many of my students have ever heard of those places? How many of them have a want to go elsewhere? To look elsewhere? How many of them would dream of anything else?

I think about a conversation I had about respect and honesty tonight. It was very similar to a conversation I had this week with one of my students who is willfully trying to get pregnant. She is fourteen. She is in seventh grade. She can't see beyond the love she feels for her boyfriend. I don't mean to belittle her feelings, but it saddens me to think that her horizon is so shortsighted that his feelings and his "want" to have a family are more important than her own interests or the way in which her world will change. I'm struck by how unfair it seems that experiences of opportunity and choice created in me a person who is willing to walk away, but chooses to stay and created in her a person who doesn't know the difference.

Frustration and anger only seem to tear me down and make me less of the person I want to be. Tonight, lying here listening to the chimes and the night, it's a wish to change my students ability to dream that makes me want to get up tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. Frustration at testing and changes and DeUndre and Isabel won't carry me nearly as far as the feeling I have when I close my eyes and listen to the night.

So I suppose I'll just go with that for a while; after all, it seems I might have a few more nights with an open window.  

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Sam I have to tell you that you are amazing. I usually forget to read people's blogs regularly, so I read them in infrequent binges. Your entries are always so interesting though! This one... it's funny because I totally hate windchimes. Like, a HUGE pet peeve. But with your description, you almost made me like them. :)

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