Two days ago I began a post: Zeke and I are here at my father’s house. In a couple of hours we’ll be heading to my sister’s house to make eggs and prepare Easter dinner. The rain is falling and Sadie snuggles up against my leg.
Then time ran out and I’ve been running since then. I always think I’ll have more time during the break than I actually have. Between getting ready for classes next quarter, cleaning up my office, and trying to make some headway on spring gardening, I find myself overwhelmed much of the time.
Zeke has found herself a mentor at the junior high school, a young English teacher with rapidfire speech and a passion for teaching that infects his students. Zeke, her boyfriend and a gaggle of surprisingly jock-like boys hang out in his classroom, talking about the state of the world and reading and the Internet. When I stop by to pick up Zeke, Mr. S teases her about her boyfriend. “Why would you want to hang out with that loser?” he slags her (slag is an Irish term for a particular type of teasing).
“Hey!” her boyfriend counters. “I’m not a loser. I’m a diligent student.” And I smile because few enough American teenagers would know what diligent means, and I like him, and Zeke finally gets to hang out with someone who doesn’t put her down because she has a varied vocabulary. She forgets, sometimes, that she’s not supposed to be smart, because it’s not cool to be smart in her high school, especially if you’re a girl. Most of the time she plays dumb quite well, but occasionally she slips and uses a word that’s above the heads of most of her peers, and then they taunt her. Although I wish it could be different, I know I too would probably give in to the social expectations of the world in which she lives, just for a little peace, though I’m glad she won’t compromise on more significant convictions, like her attitude towards taking drugs, getting drunk, and indiscriminate s*x.
Anyway, I love that she’s found a teacher who’s passionate about his subject, and loves writing, and shares his own writing with his students. I love that he lets them hang out in his classroom after school, and teases them, and understand them. I also see his frustration at the apathy of so many of his students, at their disrespect for learning and teachers. I hope he doesn’t quit.
No time for more…