I hate confrontations. I’ve been known to put up with some ridiculously bad situations for a ridiculously long time in hopes of just outliving the problem. I’m a patient woman. I teach 15-year-olds for a living. So today I stirred up some trouble and went looking for a fight with, of all people, my principal. I wrote a long (3 page) letter about how I didn’t like his evaluation of one of my lessons and besides that his new regime was sending us into a death spiral of negativity. Something along those lines. Now I’m just waiting. His move. I might have mentioned that I teach 15-year-olds. It’s an odd sort of thing to do with your time. And it’s full of confrontation. But I like it. We wrangle, we negotiate, we laugh a lot. I traumatize them with the literature that traumatized me. Good times. I tease sometimes that teachers live on caffeine and gratitude, and we pay for the caffeine ourselves. But it isn’t really a tease. I live to see a kid delighted by a book or writing an essay that reflects how they really think about things – in ways that other people can understand. I understand that the first step to that end goal is often resistance. Loud, forceful resistance. To which I smile and say, “I think you should write about that.” I wear them down. It takes a while. They learn that resistance is futile. And then they turn that energy into something productive for themselves. Sometimes it occurs to them to thank me. I am the immovable object. I teach them to become the implacable force. And I could mainline coffee with no appreciable difference in my personality or sleep patterns.

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