Monday, November 25, 2013


If  you're one of the not even ten people who's read my not-yet-published essay "Wyrd," you know I believe in signs. Fervently. If you're not, let me tell you a little something about me: I believe in signs. Fervently.

In fact, I'm such a fervent believer in signs, I don't believe in just the everyday, garden-variety kind of signs but in something much bigger. I believe in the universe's, or what I like to call The Power's, ability and tendency to manipulate energy and events in an effort to force people to do what it wants. And I believe in that (guess how. Can you guess? Can you?) fervently.

Without going into any detail whatsoever, I'll tell you that a little over four years ago, I witnessed this Power firsthand. I witnessed it when, wanting me to do something so badly, it manipulated everything literally and figuratively close to me until somebody ended up dead, and, well--that was more than enough to get me to believe.

And it's at it again.

You see, I've been going through a crisis. A big one. Huge.

A little over a month ago, maybe about two, I decided that I was done teaching high school. I decided that it was way too stressful and even more thankless and absolutely not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I decided that if there were something--anything--else I could do with my degrees, I would do it, and if there were something monetarily comparable I could do without my degrees, I would do that, too. A little over a month ago, maybe about two, I would have done anything--waitressed, cashiered, peddled my wares on the corner--to get out of the high school classroom. I was absolutely through.

After making my decision, I updated my CV, and I set out to find something else to do. I read classifieds and went on job boards for people with English degrees; I even went to a presentation given by a newspaper to apply for an internship position. Because remember the thing I just said about being willing to do anything as long as it was monetarily comparable? It totally wasn't true. I was so desperate to change careers, I would have taken something not remotely monetarily comparable. I wanted out, and I didn't care about the route.

But then--

But then, The Power.

But then a student who I've done, without going into one detail whatsoever, a lot, a lot for, told me I was the best thing that ever happened to him.

And then I got to drive that same student to an interview with an admissions officer for the University of Pennsylvania, an interview that I could pretty definitively say never ever would have happened if it weren't for me, and get a message from him about how well it went and how happy he was and cry in the car while I was driving home because I was probably almost as happy for him as he was for himself.

And then later that night I got tagged in a post on Facebook by a former student who's now getting her BA in English and going on to get her MFA in creative writing and thanked for being the person who got her into writing.

And then I remembered the other former student who posted on my wall on Facebook a few Mother's Days ago saying that when she got pregnant, she wanted to drop out of school, but it was because of me and my encouragement that she didn't and that she was eternally grateful for the effect I had on her life.

And then I thought about some quote I'd read about teachers not knowing the effect that they have because it's immeasurable and not immediate which led to me thinking to myself that even though that's true, in these three cases, it wasn't, because I did know. I knew exactly how positively I'd impacted these people's lives, and I thought of several other similar cases, and I realized how much I love what I do. I realized that a bout with bad leadership and other negative factors almost changed the course of countless lives, including mine, and I decided that I'm not going to let that happen.

The instant I made my decision--about thirty seconds after seeing that post by the student studying English--I felt better than I had in a little over a month, maybe about two. I felt like I had clarity once again and a distinct purpose, too.

Whether they know it or not, these kids need me.

And I need them, too.