I don’t talk about my work too much here. Mostly because when I am writing it’s on the weekends and I’m surrounded by busy or quiet weekend things, family, friends. My title is librarian/media specialist and but I’m a little more like a Swiss Army knife, mixing books and web resources and tech help and teaching information skills and helping students develop organizational strategies. Mostly I help people do what they need to. Really it’s about relationships, day in and out, with these quirky 8th and 9h graders who are hilarious and ridiculous and smart and silly.
My school is in a working class district. Approximately half of my students receive free or reduced lunch. Many students work. A lot of students have had really really crappy things happen in their lives, things and situations that are about poverty and the box it puts you in so that you don’t even know you’re in a box at all, let alone know you could get out. So I sometimes get in my car and cry on the way home, and I get mad and snarky, and when I listen to the Pledge each morning, after “…and liberty and justice for all,” I always always add (in my head) IF YOU’RE WHITE AND HAVE MONEY. Mostly we are white in this, the whitest county in the whitest state of America.
But there’s always the one or two I want to save. Boys mostly. The lost ones who don’t smile because they are too tough already. And I twinkle at these boys with the full force of my desire to make them feel acknowledged. I greet them by name and I ask about their hunting trip or their lobster haul or their four-wheeler. And I don’t have to pretend to care, because I do, and I want to give them my full and complete attention and hear their story. Sometimes the twinkling is exhausting work because I am trying to fill a big hole.
Who hurt you once/ so far beyond repair/ that you would greet each overture/with curling lip? (Louise Penny)
Today I made a boy laugh who rarely smiles. And I made a boy smile who I have never seen smile before. And these were the very best things I did all day.