Virtually all my life I have spent a large portion of my life somehow connected to public schools.
I went to school the typical amount of time and loved the experience, most of the time. Except perhaps, middle school. But once I graduated from college I taught middle school ~ and all of a sudden I had a new view on those years. In the right light, with my eyes squinted I could muster an almost sentimental appreciation for those years of sheer awkwardness. (Not that I would ever want to live through them again!)
By the time I gave up teaching, I had a child enrolled in school. I volunteered in the classroom and around the school in all sorts of ways; three kids’ worth. Then I took a very part time job at that same school, which eventually grew into a slightly more time job. My job has changed again recently. Now I am traveling around to different schools. I get to spend time in schools full of kids of all ages. From preschool to high school.
We hear so many sad tales of hardship. In the news and around the internet. As a writer, or maybe just as a human, I am drawn to problems, to issues, to the struggles of children and their families – and neighborhoods.
They are there, for sure.
And, definitely in San Diego, schools are struggling. They are operating on bare, raw, minimal budgets.
But, the thing I’m struck by most, as I pop in and out of so many different schools, is… I love them all so much.
I love schools.
I love the kids attending them and I love the adults who greet them at the door. Who work with passion and drive to keep schools being what they are – a safe haven, a place for dreams and hopes to be planted and nurtured, a ticket to the future.
Because this is supposed to be a blog about writing and reading, I want to mention a recent “school book” read: Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea. Highly recommended, this story is told from various points of view of the students in one classroom. It’s funny and sweet, touching and heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful and inspiring.
Just like school.
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK