This is my love story, a really unusual love story. It's not about a man and a woman, or any usual relationship. It's about a teacher, an aging teacher, retired for 10 years, who went to teach at an "inner city" school. To teach French there.
I needed the money and could not find a job teaching English or working as a librarian, two of my areas of certification. School started and I still did not have a job. I had been looking at this French position at this "inner city" school, but was really hesitant to interview. One, I am not that fluent in French. I can read and write it and speak hesitantly, so I was not eager to do something I did not excel in. Two, I did not know how I would do in a school that was 99.8% another race. How would they accept me? That was my biggest worry. As it turned out, that worry was quite grounded.
Students were absolutely horrible to me--disrespectful, rude, they minimized me every way they could. The disciplinarian tried to work with me. He told me I had to earn their trust. So that's what I did. I worked more on relationships. French came along--it, after all, was the structure of our relationship.
Perhaps it was the hard work, but eventually, I came to absolutely love those students. Nearly every one of them. I learned so much from them. Most of them came to love me, too. But not all. That's to be expected.
There's so much left to say, but I'm leaving it unsaid. The bottom line is what a remarkable year I had, what a great experience it was, and how much I would like to do it again.
Books on my very ambitious TBR list (*denotes read)
- *Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox
- The Odd Women by George Gissing
- The Zen of Fish by Trevor Corson
- How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esme Raji Codell
- The Cod Tale by Mark Kurlansky
- In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
- *Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
- Dag Hammarskjold by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery
- The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael L. Munk
- Children of Strangers by Lyle Saxon
- Spiritual Writings by Flannery O'Connor
- Nightmares and Visions: Flannery O'Connor and the Catholic Grotesque by Gilbert H. Muller
- The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor
- Flannery O'Connor's South by Robert Coles
- Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor
- Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
- *Vincent de Paul by Margaret Ann Hubbard
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
- Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
- *Ruined by Paula Morris
- Say You're Not One of Them by Uwem Akpan
- Wandering Star by J.M.G. Le Clezio
- Silence by Shusaku Endo
- *The Assault by Harry Mulisch
- Kari's Saga by Robert Jansson
- *The German Mujahid by Boualem Sansal
- Western Skies by Joseph Conrad
- *The Giver by Lois Lowery
- *Imperium by Ryszard Kapuscinski