Letter from Publius

Hey Simms,
I know what you mean about my painting a terrifying picture of teaching in a public school. I’m mindful of how, when he was on his deathbed, Marco Polo was asked if all those stories were true. “I haven’t written down half of what I’ve seen,” he said. I’ve written what is entertaining and exciting. It’s difficult to write about the days that are simply enervating, the assaults upon the soul that are simply humiliating.

That said, you shouldn’t think that there are no rewards. I’m making 60 – 70K (I’d have to check with my beloved accountant for the exact number.) I have a health plan, dentist, all that. I have a pension, and I have tenure. And when I look at the unemployment figures, well, be it ever so humble, there’s no tenure like your own. But, as far as the blog goes, where are the laughs in getting tenure?

A lot of folks don’t see the small victories. The other day I run into a kid I taught in 7th grade. She’s working as a cashier in a cafeteria at Wash. U.. When I see her, the first thing we do is catch up on who’s been shot, and who’s in jail. Then she tells me how, when she’s not working, she’s going to the junior college, and getting her license in cosmetology. After that, she’s going to get a degree in business, and open her own shop. And this, Mike, this is a victory. It’s a victory now only for Brittany, but for her children, and her children’s children. Why? Because she’s getting out of the ghetto, and into the lower middle class. Her daughter will go to the state university. And, with God’s good grace, it’s her granddaughter will go to Stanford. And while I didn’t build the edifice that is Brittany’s life, I mixed some of the cement. As for me — these small victories — I think these are some of the finest things I’ve ever done with my life.

Filed under: Prose, Publius