Fueled My Passion
INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM – MORNING
Anna walks towards her classroom and opens the door with a key. She carries a large stack of papers in hand and places them on her desk and then goes back to the light switch.
When you hear the word trauma, you imagine some big, catastrophic event that occurred. Death, abuse, witnessing a horrific event are probably what come to mind. Sometimes I wish it happened like that. Maybe I could better explain it that way.
The lights flick on. Anna organizes marked tests on her desk.
But it wasn’t. I can’t say there was one big event that shattered me. It was a slow decay of who I was and what I felt.
Students start to walk in.
We all cope with pain in different ways and the problem was that I never really coped with mine.
The bell rings.
I was so engrossed in accomplishing what I thought I had to do that anything that I didn’t have time to feel or didn’t want to acknowledge was pushed aside.
DYLAN (14), red bandana around his arm, messy mid-length brown hair with blonde highlights, and a chaotic pile of papers on his desk, takes a seat at the front and smiles at Anna. He then looks past the other students in the class and nods at his friend in the back, DUSTIN (14).
I really don’t know when it started but I do know that this moment was the beginning of one of them.
Anna walks around the room and hands back the marked quizzes to the students.
Dylan was the stereotypical infamous student in the school. Poor family life, behavioural and academic issues that spread through his classes, he attested to that exemplar challenged student we read about in education. Every teacher in the school knew him by name which often brought to rise eye rolls and stories that swarmed the staff room with negativity. And for some reason, Dylan became one of my favourite students.
Anna hands back tests to a student who celebrates over their mark.
As I do with life, I went into the profession with a sense of hopeless optimism. I taught for the students like Dylan who were unheard in the institution. With classes to the brim of thirty, students often fell through the cracks. Each day felt like a battle of trying to get the math through to the students while also trying to simply get through to them. I loved that exact moment when you saw a student smile or get what you were trying to convey. When they felt a confidence in themselves that you were trying to instill, that made every extra hour of grading and preparation worth it. These kids struggled with so much else that all I wanted was for them to have a safe space. At the end of the day, it was never about the math – it was about the people they were. I wanted my students to strive to be more, do more, and feel more and know that they have the necessary skills and confidence to achieve that.
Dylan looks around anxiously while watching others examine their tests.
These kids tested my limits but fueled my passion.