What Beautiful Souls

In dusty, breezy classrooms I stand for eight, sometimes ten hours a day, depending on the day. I’m one of the fortunate ones. I don’t have a single classroom, or even a single location. I move from city to city, even on a single day, from school to school, walking across hot blacktop and behind dusty construction. All for the beautiful souls.

I love students, young people, for all their awkward, wonderful, perfect imperfections.

There’s the brave souls who seem to know themselves and push forward in original dress or make up, the shy ones who cower at the back of the class, the jocks, the nerds, the quiet and boisterous, the bright, bouncy, round, and rolling. The variety is marvelous to experience.

There’s the one who know what they want to do every day for the next thirty or forty years of their lives, and the ones who wander lost, stumbling through their education, and the one who thinks they know their sexual power, and the other who hides behind their hair.

They’re all so amazingly beautiful – without really knowing it.

Beauty lies in their movements, in their anxious thoughts, their mistakes and missteps and goals and exceptional struggle to achieve.

Many people are concerned that our future, the future of our planet or mankind is in trouble; but there is hope.

In their clean, fresh faced, pimpled, freckled beautiful souls – earth’s only fountain of youth is our youth.

I sometimes believe I became a teacher by chance, but maybe it was always my fate. In either case, I’m fortunate. One of my professor’s suggested I join the TA program. I didn’t know if I had the time, could afford the low pay. I was certain I’d flubbed the interview. I walked away believing that I would never hear from them. But I did.

And even now, all these years later, I get to stand in front of the class and watch these young people grow and flourish before my eyes. I watch them struggle and see their eyes brighten when they’ve met the challenge. It’s a gift.

I occasionally complain, shake my head. The pandemic and now post pandemic has not been easy. The lack of appreciation. But – the students.

They are not perfect, they are not fully formed, but they are lovely humans just trying to adjust to life. There’s a lot on their shoulders, and they’ve seen so much darkness. Let’s teach them kindness, let’s encourage their open minds and praise their open hearts.

Imperfection, struggle, growth, change, and challenges met create the beautiful souls – and I get to witness that miracle!

2 thoughts on “What Beautiful Souls

  1. Think of the power you have, Noreen. If you can impart a sense of self-worth and respect, a love of life and of learning, and confidence in their futures, you are doing work as important as any work being done.

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