Apologies from a Once-Wannabe Teacher

from Jody Feldman

Dear Jeff and Mike,

I owe you a decades-old apology for subjecting you to my teacher phase. You may not even remember. I was 9 years old to your 7 and 4 and, that summer, I had apparently become enamored with teaching. Either that, or I’d had enough of those endless summer days and was looking for some mental stimulation. Maybe I had come across an old homework sheet or maybe you had been building towers with our alphabet blocks. Whatever the spark, I was able to fill an hour or two by creating, if memory serves me, a lesson plan of workbook pages and blackboard exercises.

When I’d prepared as well as a 9 year old could, I sat you in front of me, trying to figure out how to get you to do the work. I’m sure you humored me for a few minutes before you got up to run around or until, in frustration, I uttered, “Class dismissed.” I realized you would not be learning from me that day. This may have been the first and last time I considering going into education.

And yet, peripherally, here I am, excited to start a new year of school visits. It’s different when you understand exactly what you have to offer all those kiddos. And it’s so much more fulfilling when you’ve developed a deep enthusiasm for talking about reading and writing, joy and frustration, rejections and successes, and rewriting, rewriting, rewriting. Oh, and about ideas and inspiration. My answer to that most-asked question, this picture.
Explanation is included in presentations.

Back to that day, all those years ago, when I abandoned my teacher aspirations forever, I didn’t stop to thank you for sending my career in another direction. While I may not have the mettle to be a day-in, day-out teacher, a favorite part of my career—second only to the creative high I get when I latch onto a new idea—is popping in to schools and spending the day talking and, yes, teaching. And this may never have happened if you’d stayed and humored me.

Your sister, Jody