Three days spent working with the 2017 cohort of State Teachers of the Year has solidified a feeling in me that I struggled to name two years ago. The feeling is a mix of relief and hope.
It’s easy to panic in this current climate, to believe that everyone is bolting for the exits and filing their resignations in teacher lounges across the country. So it is with grateful eyes that I see them as the next wave, the cavalry, the reinforcements. They are here. They will help. They will lend their voices to the voices already raised in defense of our students and our colleagues.
And as I thought about them, about my colleagues Sarah, Sean, Jeff, Emily, and Paul, I thought of this poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. The passion I feel for this profession finds expression in her words:
I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having wavered
In these affections; never through shyness in the houses of the rich or in the presence of clergymen having denied these loves;
Never when worked upon by cynics like chiropractors having grunted or clicked a vertebra to the discredit of these loves;
Never when anxious to land a job having diminished them by a conniving smile; or when befuddled by drink
Jeered at them through heartache or lazily fondled the fingers of their alert enemies; declare
That I shall love you always.
No matter what party is in power;
No matter what temporarily expedient combination of allied interests wins the war;
Shall love you always.
Image Credit: National Network of State Teachers of the Year0