Was I a good teacher?

19.8.09



This question plagued me throughout my tumultuous and brief career as a Waldorf teacher. Being fired does funny things to you. It messes with your head. Robs you of your identity, like doubt or memory loss, especially if the job you just managed to lose was something you dearly wanted to hang on to. And society frowns upon it – you, getting fired.

There are two reasons why someone is fired, you are either incompetent or you don’t fit in. Of course the most powerful and third reason would be you are incompetent and you don’t fit in. At this point you lack any human dignity. Because 99% of the population thinks you are incompetent and stupid. Which is why you don’t tell anyone you were fired, thereupon it becomes your “dirty little secret”.

***

I used to run. Well, I used to jog. I was a jogger. Okay, I walked with bended knees and arms swinging, panting heavily trying to push the atmosphere out of the way in the hopes of gaining some kind of momentum that resembled a jog.

I had the most success jogging uphill. If the road was flat I would get bored. I was never meant for long distance running. I tried the tricks, mentally repeating positive affirmations such as, I am strong. I am relaxed.

I tried focusing on a sign yonder and making it to the sign and then repeating the process: see the sign, get to the sign, see that house, get to the house. But I think all I ended up doing was sloppy running. My feet started to drag making that tak tak noise as my shoes scraped against the sidewalk. I wasn’t even heavy so I had no - extra weight  - or an excuse.

I lived in a neighborhood located in front of Animas Mountain in Durango Colorado. And that was my goal. Run up that mountain. I started by walking and puffing as far as I could manage. Then inch by inch I could jog a bit, walk fast, jog some more, do a jog walk combo and then jog up and down without the previous problems of my limited lung capacity. I felt like running uphill provided a goal. I felt like I was pushing myself to get somewhere not just running aimlessly through the flatland of neighborhoods and city streets.

I was the healthiest I’d ever been. I was jogging/hiking/puffing in the evenings and doing yoga in the mornings. I had switched over to a 75% raw food diet subsisting on nuts, bananas, honey, and the occasional salad like some rabid squirrel. So you’d think I would have known how it happened, but I don’t.

If people knew what it was like to shit their pants they wouldn’t use it in jest. I don’t believe the smell, the horror or the humiliation would aptly describe the feeling/s they are trying to convey. It’s just a saying and it provides a tee-hee moment in conversations but I assure you it is not funny. Oh and it happened while I was jogging up Animas Mountain.

I think it was some deadly fruit in the morning, salad for lunch combination. I don’t know. I should remember this, right? I just know one minute I’m making my way up the incline and the next I’m searching for a way down. It was a typical clear-of-clouds day in Colorado. Of course, when people think of Colorado they think of the Rocky Mountains and tall, tall trees and thick forests with adorable woodland creatures abounding.

Okay, well I am here to tell you that Colorado can be very open and bare. On that fine day, there wasn’t a tree, a bush, a shrub or a stick to hide behind. The bald, exposed trail faces houses down below and as I started to painfully skip back I knew I wasn’t going to make it. So in one swift movement, I pulled down my shorts and squatted.

In one swift movement there it was: oozing, smelling, and ejecting it self between my legs. (I know, absolutely disgusting.) I looked around pathetically for a fallen leaf or pine needles or a tuff of grass to wipe myself with, but there was nothing but an abundance of red clay dirt and rocks.

As if closing my eyes would erase the horror, I gingerly pulled my shorts back on. Then I stared at my pile of liquid poo, feeling bad about leaving it there. So I did what I could. I did what anyone else would have done. I found the largest rock I could find and placed it on top. I watched as it pushed itself around the rock, forming a puddle, larger than before like a melting brown marshmallow.

I then turned away from the mess I’d made, thankful no walkers, joggers or cyclist had suddenly appeared. I looked hard at the windows of the homes down below to see if anyone was watching, laughing or pointing.  Then I walked home as fast as I could. I was a mess. I made a mess. And for some reason this is the incident I think about when I think about getting fired as a Waldorf teacher.

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