Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another Day, Another Scholar




“If you could tell us what Tammie’s all about in just a couple sentences, what would you say?” I had my first class of the new term last night. I never just jump into material at the start of that first bell. I like to begin by building a sense of community, a sense of team. I think the best learning happens when students feel free to share, when they feel accepted, appreciated, an important part of the whole. I feel the need to be approachable. We’re together in this effort. We are one, in this class, in this community, on this planet. Peace and love, Kumbaya, and all that shit.

So, in the getting to know you stage, I allow for questions, any question at all, everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-your-instructor-but-were-afraid-to-ask, only now you have permission. It’s sort of like speed dating only nobody goes home with any phone numbers or insanely hot prospects. But c’mon. “All About Tammie” in two sentences or less?? I just can’t do that. I’m too complex. And yet I’m not. I’m an open book, but only to the chapters that I want people to see. I’m an easy read and Anna Karenina all at the same time. I’m like those run on sentences that plague every eighth grade English teacher’s existence.

So I thought, because she was due an answer. Who am I, in two sentences or less? I am a mother, a wife, a daughter and sister. I teach, and I write. I still have days where I question what I want to be when I grow up. I’m vegan. I have an opinion, and I’m pretty sure you want to hear that opinion. I’m religious, but not a fan of religion. When it comes to politics I am, to borrow a line, lefter than you. I’m a Midwestern girl who loves to travel. My singles ad could be filed under “cheesy romantic.” Tammie loves soft music, candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach. I enjoy a great conversation even more. Poetry, to me, is like a foreign language. I never understand it, but I love to hear it. I’m not afraid to throw out an “f” word and do it probably more than I should. I read more than I breathe. If you’re smart, funny, and nice all at the same time, you pretty much have my heart forever. I’m a book nerd, a research nerd, and a glass of soymilk half full kind of gal. Two sentences?

Then it hit me, the baby on the floor. I worked day care once for about a week. I hated it. I quit. I was told not to play with the kids. I was to stand back and supervise. I wanted to play. I was given the job of sitting with a little girl who was inconsolable. I rocked her to sleep as she sobbed, both of us drenched in snot and tears. I think the owner of the center was glad to have me out of the way. I put the wrong size diaper on a different child. She had a permanent wedgie until the next change. I knew nothing about babies or day care or working parents. I wanted to rock and soothe and hold and play, but no. And then it happened. I was relegated to the infant room. All I had to do was feed, diaper, and shake a few shiny red toys. What could be more simple? Except that I didn’t know babies had to be strapped into changing tables and that if I were to reach for a diaper without strapping in or without a hand on baby, then baby would fall onto the floor with a wail so loud that it would notify both the owner of the day care center and the parent with whom she was talking. Let’s just say it was a mutually happy day when I turned in my notice.

I don’t believe in spending time doing things I don’t enjoy. Sure, there are times when an offensive task is a stepping-stone to a desired goal, but if it’s not a rock on the path then I’m not interested. I don’t have that kind of time. I’m on a deadline in this life, and I’m not here to grouse and complain or hate my days. I need to love what I do. So I set my priorities and, as a result, I’ve lived a pretty good life. Friends have prefaced comments to me in the past with the phrase you’re lucky, but I don’t really think luck has anything to do with it. You’re lucky you can stay home with your kids. You’re lucky you have a job you enjoy. You’re lucky you have your health. No. I’m not lucky. I’m focused. I set my priorities. With each choice, decision, opportunity, I ask myself, “Does this serve my purpose?” If not, then I have no further interest. If so, then I’m in one hundred and ten percent.

And, so, the answer was clear.

“If you could tell us what Tammie’s all about in just a couple sentences, what would you say?” And I said this, I live my life to move, motivate, encourage, inspire. I believe in peace and love, compassion, kindness to all. Me. In two sentences.

How about YOU? What are YOU all about?

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