Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
To the editor:
I was a confident and self-assured teacher. I knew what I was doing and I loved it. The students could see that. I rarely appeared anxious or confused, much less fearful and insecure.
Problems were not daunting and the work was rarely overwhelming. I did not ever despair of holding my own or my position at the school. But that was in the school, the classrooms, the halls, the playing fields and generally around the campus.
Outside of school, in my social and personal life, I was not nearly as consistent or stable. I often found life confusing and sometimes overwhelming. I was and really am not always sure of myself ? not in every situation. I have confidence most of the time, but sometimes not much of it and occasionally it feels like I have none at all.
Needless to say, I am not always happy. I feel sad, angry and frustrated, like anyone else. I make mistakes, slip, fall and get up slowly, really slowly sometimes.
During my teaching career, I was always afraid to have my students see the difference between who I was as a teacher in the school and who I was as a person outside the school. I didn?t want them to see who I became when I left the building because I was sure it wasn?t the person they thought I was.
To my mind, I would always be the confident, self-assured and competent person they saw in the school if they never saw me outside of the school, at least not often or for extended periods.
Like all things of that nature I had to give it up. It was a form of self-deception anyway. I had to give it up and start working on who I was outside the school.
It is sort of like saying to a student, ?I am not perfect? and the student responding, ?I never thought you were. And by the way I am not perfect, either.?
When I say that I loved my students when I was their teacher, I also mean to say that I still do. I love seeing my students 5,10, or 15 years later, all grown up. It is a bit of a shock at first ? the former student looking a lot older than 15, that is, but i get over it.
I appreciate so much that they have time for me. They look up from their phone, walk over and chat a bit, smile too. Most of them know I still love to hear them call me Mr. Turner, and they do.
When people ask me why I have so much faith in our future, I try to tell them I know who these young people are and what they will contribute to the life of this nation. And I know they will be wonderful parents if they choose to be. The future will be good.
? Jim Turner, Fairfield