I felt deja vu upon deja vu, a multilayered memory carried by that corn and cleaner stench, that filled me with fear and self-loathing. An elementary school should not cause such anxiety; perhaps the fact that my four-year-old was locked away in a small florescent-lit room with a district psychologist and some number two pencils added to my anxiety.
I was flooded with memories of my dozen-plus experiences teaching in a handful of schools. I somehow always fell prey to the hoardes of students, my classroom went wild and my career was at stake. I rarely stayed at a school site for more than a year, a prominent mentor and role model in the lives of thirty to two hundred students one day, gone the next. Every day when I walked in the school doors, that corn and cleaner stench mocked me as I told myself, today would be a better day. I would take control of my class. And every day, that corn and cleaner scent clung to my heels as I locked the classroom door, full of self loathing at my failure as a teacher. But I kept coming back; a love of learning and teaching and helping others, a strange instinctual need to help children find wonder drove me back each time. Every year, a different school, with the same self loathing and fear.
So as I paced the halls, waiting for my son to finish an evaluation, I did my best to keep my chin up, while having an epiphany. Somehow, my emotions take me hostage and I feel like a prisoner in the school system. I feel bullied, alone, a failure. Exactly what I hope my son never ever experiences.
I pray that when he opens the school doors, the scent of corn and cleaner whispers to him, "explore....wonder...succeed...smile....". And that he whispers back, "I will."