I vowed to myself I would never exploit the thirty-seven years I spent in education for the sake of a byline. Why would my life as a secondary language arts teacher be any more interesting than one authored by an accountant or penned by a pediatrician?
My life didn’t merit an after-school special or a big screen movie played by some famous actor. Sadly I look more like Morgan Freeman, Edward James Olmos, and Matthew Perry, than Michelle Pfieffer, Hilary Swank, or Meryl Streep.
My kids didn’t bend the bell curve on national exams, learn to play violins like virtuosos, or yield to bat-wielding discipline. I didn’t buck the system during my first two years of teaching, so I could retire immediately after to pen my lengthy and sage memoirs about the ills of modern education.
Oprah did not declare me a modern hero, donate to my new and improved charter school, or boost my book sales. My calendar is not booked with lucrative speaking engagements, and the local retired teachers' group could care less that a celebrity lives among them (- they rarely even invite me to their chicken-salad luncheons).
I taught thousands of students, who are now grown men and women, the joy of accomplishment, the discipline of work, and the respect one human owes another.
That may not merit my life in 3-D, but it was a full and rewarding life.