A Stout-Hearted Cleveland Teacher
Writes Trenchantly From the Inside
'Even for those of us who have lasted long enough in the education trenches to bear the moniker of 'Seasoned Veteran', the first day back to school is still anticipated with a bit of trepidation, along with the excitement of a fresh start. Driving along the Shoreway early Thursday morning I wondered, "Who will I meet this year?" Over the past 28 years of 'first days', I have met thousands of young men and women. As I taught them new concepts, they enriched my life. So many made me laugh, some tested my patience, a few even broke my heart. Most eventually graduated to go on to jobs or college. They became hard workers, good parents, and successful business people. A good number became artists, and an admirable number became teachers. I've sent quite a few of my students off to the armed forces. Some made careers in the military, others have returned from war physically and/or emotionally scarred. I see my former pupils' names in the newspaper, or on the internet, in the business or society pages, occasionally in the obituaries, and more often than I care to admit, in the police blotter. I've seen their faces on the walls of the post office featured on the FBI's most wanted posters, found them listed in the sheriff's sex offenders updates, and on prison web pages. I've taught killers, gangsters, rapists, bank robbers and con-artists. And I've also taught the victims.'
--from my friend Mary Beth Matthews' incredible blog. If there's a better example of a teacher writing with vivid honesty about how urban public education really works in America, I've yet to come across it. Here's hoping this heroic woman continues to touch young lives with her almost freakish dedication. I also hope she'll one day write a book full of all she knows about what takes place in school classrooms. It would be an unforgettable book. I couldn't help noticing how she evidently follows the progress of her former students over a lifetime with the same kind of perpetual interest that I have about anyone I've written about in the past.