Gratitude

I hated school. The hours passed like weeks.

In math class, a friend whispered across my desk, “if I only had one day left to live, I’d want to spend it in here”

"Why the hell?" I asked.

"Because," my friend snarled, "in here, every moment seems like an eternity."

And that's precisely how I felt about school. Getting so little never took so long.

I must have been a pain-in-the-ass student. I was always asking my teachers why we had to learn whatever they were teaching. "You'll need it next year," they always said. Then the next year, my new teachers would answer with the same, "You'll need it next year," I was always a year away from my answer and it just absolutely made me hate school. I hated that nothing mattered. I hated watching the hands crawl around the clock face. Already, at age 15, life seemed much too short to waste. And I knew if I ever graduate, if I had a job anything like school I would hate it too. The last thing I ever thought would happen to me was that I would end up in the very place I was so happy to escape - school. Here I am.

I do have to thank all those teachers for motivating me. Sitting bored out of my skull in their glacial classes, I imagined all the various ways their classes could be taught and vowed I’d never be like them.

I couldn’t have made it without those rare and wondrous teachers who helped pull me through all those wasted hours of school. Mrs. Brown's class was magic. She asked us big important questions about human nature, good and evil, aesthetics, ourselves, and we all grappled with the answers together. "Why are the bad characters more interesting than the good ones?” she would ask. “Do you know anybody that actually talks like that?" Or, “Imagine a life where everything was perfect. Would you even want to read a book if it didn’t have any conflict or evil? Wouldn’t that be just a little bit boring?” And we were supposed to ask our own questions too - the harder the better. And if she didn't know the answer, she damn well found it: she wasn’t too proud to learn. And of all the questions we wrestled with, the best ones didn’t even have answers. I looked forward to that class everyday.  We read aloud together, we laughed, we taught each other, we learned, and it mattered. Thank you, Mrs. Brown!

As today's class starts, Ms. Brown is guiding my way.