I’ve been thinking about children and the many pains, small and big that they shoulder along with them to school, perhaps even bigger than those ridiculous body swallowing backpacks most of them carry these days. I’ve also been thinking about teachers and our own aches (our hearts, and for those of us over 50, our joints!), and how in a single room twenty or thirty souls meet each day and attempt to fit together, a puzzle whose pieces seem to forever be changing shape – sometimes a perfect fit, often a forcing together of jagged mismatched parts.
How easy it is to forget that the classroom is a small society, filled with brilliant ideas, humdrum duties, rebels, and followers (and I include the adults in all of this). How wonderful it would be if there were some overarching capital S strategy that could solve the problem of being people for us – the children who enter the school each day with their silent jealousies, their quiet confusion, their tentative, open expressions? The adults who are supposed to have grown up, figured it all out, and pass such wisdom along?
I suppose that in the end we can only sigh, and sigh a lot. It’s hard, this business of loving. For that’s what it ultimately amounts to; the tests, the techniques, the discipline, the boredom, the thrilling moments when a child suddenly exclaims “I get it!” when you secretly thought they never would – all of it just a long hike towards the only thing that anyone really wants: the flash of recognition that says I see you, I love you, and you, why you love me!