disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fear and Loathing in las escuelas

The scent of multipurpose cleaner and soggy canned corn wafted through the halls, riding the chilly draft from the locked metal doors. Tiny windows, security protocols, screams echoing down empty halls made me feel like a prisoner; tiny paper snowflakes bedazzled in glitter meant I was instead inside an elementary school.

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."


  1. I was an itinerant teacher once, so I can relate to that feeling of not belonging. At the same time, I enjoyed the fresh start at each school, the chance to get a do-over.
    I hope your son has a great school experience.

  2. I feel that if I ever tried to be a teacher, this would be my experience. I hope your son has a wonderful time at school.

  3. Oh my goodness, this was vivid. I have been toying with going into early childhood education and I always fear having an experience like this.

    Well, written. Very well.

    That corn smell...ugh.

  4. You do such a nice job of bringing this experience to life--very vivid! And I feel the pull of the teaching bug. It's a hard profession to walk away from.