Monday, October 9, 2017

Let's Be Odd Together

I'm a fan of odd things. Odd stories. Odd dishes. Odd people. It could be an art thing--ever heard of the Rule of Thirds? Or, just maybe*, it's because I'm as odd as the things I like. Perhaps that's why I've found myself beating–cough–teaching the finer points of literacy and the English language to a gaggle of high school students in Thornton.

Teachers are an odd breed, for sure. I thought writers were weird (they are), but teachers have their very own brand of kooky. We walk into our schools laden with bags of food, school supplies, and graded homework; it looks like we're moving in. Every time I swipe my key card to enter the building, I get the distinct feeling of walking into the zombie apocalypse. Every day we face the zombie hoard, trying to get them to at least use a complete sentence when they ask us for more brains.

Writers and teachers have a lot in common. Besides often fighting zombies, both groups are trying to save the world. My writer friends do it one story at a time, and my teacher friends do it one person at a time. Not that we're saviors by any means; I simply mean that in the grand scheme of things, imagination and a caring, kind adult can be the difference between a kid's success and his/her failure. Every time I volunteer at Sunday school with my little first and second graders, I see those differences being built. Every time I walk into a high school classroom or through the halls at work, I watch those successes (and failures) being fortified. My mob of zombie students takes in every word from the stories and teachers around them, trying to make sense of who they are now and who they will be later.

I've been thinking lately that we live in odd times. Life is chaotic and everyone seems to be looking for a way to bring things into peaceful perspective. It's been a bittersweet year for myself and many of my close friends–in the end, though, the sweet outweighs the bitter. Sometimes I wondered if we would make it through, yet my odd circle of teachers and writers has triumphed. It may not be the end of the year yet, but I can see the finish line. There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and...oh, wait. Is that...a zombie?


Michelle's students all love reading horror, which is simply further proof that they are all zombies and will soon overrun the earth.

*"Maybe"? Ha. Try "definitely".

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