My friend, Sarah Staebell. What a beautiful friend, daughter, mom, speaker of truth and… teacher.
Being a teacher is something very special. Not only is it a job that has benefits, but it is a calling.
Not everyone can do it, even though many have their unsolicited opinions on how a teacher should teach (and the ones who give these opinions are often the ones who would suck so badly at it that they would quit after a half a day of subbing by running from the building screaming like a little girl). It is one of the professions in this world that requires every ounce of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy for 24 hours at a time. AND it has to be maintained at the highest level at all moments of the day. Multitasking, seeing things happening without actually looking, adapting, tracking, holding back emotions because it is the best thing for the moment, dealing with bureaucratic BS from our sometimes ridiculous infrastructure that limits us… being a teacher is exhausting.
The only thing that really keeps a teacher going for YEARS is the students. The ah-ha moments we see, the appreciation from the one student who is getting a base need met from us that has nothing to do with education, the little gifts, the laughter, the accomplishments, the LOVE… students can fill a teacher’s love tank and keep us going when things really stink at times.
And when a teacher gets cancer, the short end of the stick makes us feel unappreciated and unwanted.
I will state VERY clearly that have I at no time felt ill-will toward my school, just so we’re clear.
But, like Sarah, I had some of the “I’m just a body to the institution” feelings. They were real, even if they were completely unintended. I know I am loved by my staff and support staff. Seriously. So loved.
But the students? They were like my own children when they found out about my cancer. I am a like a mother figure to them, even though I don’t ever want to take the place of their parents. Let’s be honest: kids share things with other adults that they would never share with their parents. It’s just a fact. And it is such a sacred thing and a gift to be trusted by them.
So when I had to say good bye, it was as tough on them as it was on me. “My Sanctuary” was what I called my classroom. I really did. And they called it that, too.
And that part is missing from my life. I love them so much, and I think about all of them DAILY. Each sacred soul is so special.
Students, when I said that I love you as you left my room each day, you knew that I meant it. And I can’t wait to get back to “Our Sanctuary.” I still love you now, from my Mobile Sanctuary, temporarily located in The Rave Infirmary. Staff that I work with, I wish that Cancer didn’t have to be a Thing. It is not only affecting my body, it has cast a shadow over my desire to be there. I love you all so much.
Sarah, the piece you wrote at the link below is so beautiful. I love you. You yourself are a sanctuary.
Read here and create an account on Sarah’s blog to give her encouragement: Sarah’s Cancer Journey