Fight! Fight! Fight!

The longer the silence, the harder it is to break it, especially when you’re not sure you have anything to say.

Why haven’t I posted recently?  I suppose because the last few weeks has felt like a succession of fights.

First and foremost, I’m fighting for my students – fighting to get their work published, even when it’s imperfect; fighting to take them on field trips, show them film clips, engage them in learning in more visceral ways.  Each step away from the lecture podium is another fight that must be taken on before I can proceed with quality instruction – paperwork to be filed, motivations to be defended, “yes” to be won at great cost.

Then I have to turn around and fight my students – fight them for control of the class after I unwisely let it slip that I watch The Office or heard it might rain tonight or am not, truth be told, a particular fan of this author any more than they.  Fighting for their attention, as prom, sports and vacation loom disproportionately huge on the screen of their consciousness.  Most of all, I fight for their passion, which I know exists somewhere inside; I see glimpses of it when we discuss celebrity scandals or school rules, but it fades quickly in most cases when we turn to the subject at hand.  I pursue it as deeply as I can.

I fight myself, too.  Some days I have to fight to teach a lesson with enthusiasm when I really couldn’t care less about the subject that day; sometimes I fight for grace and compassion when I would love to lay down the law with an iron fist.  Just as often I fight for my own life, family and faith, when I recognize that I can’t fix students as easily as the ever-present and saintly tech staff can fix computers.  They need to fail sometimes, and I need to let them fail, to be disappointed but to leave that disappointment at school so I can return home and love my husband.

Finally, it sure feels as though I’ve been fighting the natural world.  The day before Pascha I started suffering from allergies, and I was completely miserable for two weeks before I finally got an acupuncture treatment that gave me a lot of relief.  Then I immediately caught the flu.  Meanwhile, I’ve been working outdoors – pruning, weeding, digging, watering – making the initial investment in what will be a wonderfully maintenance-free garden for much of the summer.  (More later on the garden.)  For now, it feels like a never-ending effort of exhaustion.

I spent last weekend recovering at the beach.  A little of my fight has returned.  I’m ready for the next round.