There’s something about being snowed in, especially on a school day, which makes me reflective. Today I’m thinking a lot about Monday and the parade I was invited to be in. Specifically, I was on a float representing education in Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s inaugural parade. Not having well, any float experience, I had no idea what to expect.
Unexpected #1: Giant sign with my name on it
We were situated right behind the energetic University of Texas Longhorn band that didn’t seem to sweat in the unusual January heat. As we began moving down the avenue, I noticed that there were more people lining the street than I would have imagined on a holiday. Then, they began clapping, cheering and yelling my name and waving little Texas and American flags. Pearl Cruz, the lovely young intern for Sen. Kel Seliger, turned to me and said, “Wow Shanna, you’re really getting cheers!”
And that’s when I thought, “Not really – this is not about me. These people don’t even know me.”
Not pictured: the man mocking me with an exaggerated pageant wave
No, these people were cheering what I represented: a teacher that they loved and who had loved them or their child. “I wish I could bottle this and give it to every teacher,” I thought. “Every teacher needs a parade.”
What often gets lost under a sea of criticism of and pressure on teachers is that those who love us have no megaphone. There are few chances for public cheering of teachers and most of us suffice with the notes and drawings that our students give us.
But we are loved. Truly, madly, deeply in a way that makes strangers cheer for us. We are loved beyond what we can know on dark days in January. We are loved in the permanent files on little hard drives that sit inside our students.
Andy Rooney once said, “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.”
Keep all those notes and drawings. Imagine the hands and hearts that bind them all together. Picture your own parade of those authors because if you could put all of their memories together, that’s what you’d see: Clapping and cheering and smiling. For you. Wonderful you who works in what often feels like anonymity. Fabulous you who has the patience of a yogi. Awesome you whose heart stretches and stretches into tomorrow when you will go back into your class and face what looks like sullenness.
But don’t be fooled.
You are loved.
To end, a song by the band who inspired the post’s title –
“And when the worrying starts to hurt
And the world feels like graves of dirt
Just close your eyes until
You can imagine this place”
Child Art by Zeimusu (Wikicommons)
Inaugural Parade by Jennifer Garrido