Life · Teacher · Teaching · Therapy

More gifts 

Just Monday I shared about a special gift I received from a student many years ago. That story is a wonderful one to me but it tugs at my heartstrings because I feel like I was once a teacher but am not one any longer. My psychiatrist fights me on this point, saying that while I may not feel like I am a teacher it is, technically, what I do. He and I have “fun” discussions going round and round this topic and while I never come out of these conversations the victor, I still never feel like he’s right. 

Yesterday a package came in the mail for me all the way from China. One of my students had asked for my address so that she could send me something for Christmas. The request alone bowled me over, but when I received the actual package in the mail I was brought to tears. It wasn’t the lovingly picked out pashmina which made me melt, and it wasn’t the handmade hair bow in the colors of my country’s flag, though it came close. It was the card she made for me. It is all in English with meticulously formed letters. It is loving and kind and beautiful. She made it for me because even over the thousands of miles, even just seeing the top quarter of me and hearing my voice through a computer, she genuinely loves me, and I do her. 

I’ll never win an argument with my psychiatrist again. 

One thought on “More gifts 

  1. Huh. This idea that you aren’t a teacher is odd to me. My best friend and I have this discussion a lot about what it means to be “an artist” or “a professional X”. I always say that to be a professional, for example, light engineer for the theater you have to be paid for it. Ta da! Professional. I could believe the argument that it has to be your “profession” or main source of income, but a professional writer is someone who earns money writing, even if they work another job. Russians think that it involves training. If you went to university to be a light engineer and then get a job doing this, you are a professional light engineer. I get the impression that you have the education to be a teacher, plus you have worked at it professionally. Even by Russian standards, you are a professional teacher. Now, I guess you could say that if you are out of work at the moment that then you aren’t a professional teacher, but this feels a lot like the argument that if you aren’t currently dating someone of the same gender then you aren’t really gay/bi/queer/whatever. That reminds me, though, that labels are very much about how you see yourself. Even though I haven’t worked in 100 years, I say that I’m a computer programmer, because it was my profession, and if I need something done, I’ll write a program to do it (even now). When I think about you, I feel like you are a teacher. Teachers are, after all, a source of comfort, happiness, love, support, and direction in our lives (yes, I love some elements of school). I totally see you as someone who would give comfort and support. Thus, in my world, you are a teacher.

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