Recently I decided to return to the classroom…as a student. In Flint, my academic family often used terms like life long learner. Maybe because it is on the university website.
One of my oldest students [at the time] was well into her 70s. She would tell me how sweet I am and thank me for being the teacher. And she would title me, never calling me by my first name, although I told the class (and most classes I taught) it was fine to call me ‘Traci.” During that particular semester, I had to remind myself that I was the teacher in the classroom. But truth, I felt like a student, a daughter, a life long learner and a friend, specifically to her. And yes, my feelings are linked to her being older than I. These truths and feelings crafted my definition of being a teacher at that moment in time.
I have heard this many times from different sources: Imagine everything around you is your teacher. Everything. Everrrrrythaaaang!
So my teachers are:
-The 20-year old couch I am sitting on right now
-The Hallmark mystery movie channel I watch on Sunday nights, NOT during the Christmas season (because during the Christmas season, which starts in mid-October they STOP playing the mystery movies)
-My 48-year old tabby-cat
-The turning leaves
-The awe-struck rainstorms and very grey skies
-The roach crawling on the countertop
-The cockroach terminator
-The neighbor who carries the cockroach outdoors instead of terminating it
-The paintings on the wall that make this home look like a Visual Arts gallery
-The instagram selfies that say way too much about my opinion of the person
-The instagram selfies that tell me nothing about the person but say a lot about me
-The story behind the story my friend just told me
-The callbacks I don’t receive after someone said they would call me back
-The texts I receive in the middle of the night saying meaningless stuff to me but meaningful stuff to the person texting, which means it is now meaningfull to me
-The Marco Polos that make me feel like I’m in church listening to one of my minsters whom I get to call a friend
-The consignment store I go to, reminding me that I never have to set foot in a mall again.
-The closet full of clothes that remind me that it’s material things that cover and sometimes mask who I truly am
-The cute ass heels I have that are uncomfortable to wear but will be worn one day when I have to dress up/make up/garment up...for no particular reason.
-The food I eat and throw away
-The food that comes out of the body – either from the top or bottom
-The humans I do not know but say HI to anyway
-The young very dark chocolate man on the exit highway corner at night asking for money by simply waving with one hand and holding a sign in the other
-The woman who sings gospel hymnals real loud outside my window at 5 in the morning
-The friend that addresses me as FRIEND every time she texts
-The people who give me nicknames and quite possibly don’t know my birth name but still seem to love me fully
-The people who misspell my first name no matter how often I correct them
-The water I go to for healing
-My 3rd subaru that gets me from one destination to the next
-The three dead birds I saw on the ground right behind my parents' vehicle
-The 3 deaths I was told about within a week-span of finding the 3 dead birds
-The air I breathe. The foul air. The sweet air. The no-scented air filled with stuff, I breathe
-The ache in my right foot every morning
-The difficulty in standing and walking, after sitting for a short period of time
-The way people love in the public
-The way family loves in the private
-The seasoned salmon I’m about to cook. The pink flesh of that salmon. The omega 3 I hope is in that salmon
-The manifestation of hope
-The manifestation of hope that I don’t see in the news but very well may actually be in every destitute story that is told in 30-second bites at 6:30pm on abc, cbs, nbc
-The laptop I am typing on
-My 5 to 6 senses and 3rd eye.
-Me. Me. Me.
I am my own teacher.