Cares

Dear Terrence,

I don’t care. I don’t care who called you a name. I don’t care who’s tapping a pencil and bothering you. I don’t care if you left your pencil in your last class. I don’t care if you didn’t have a pencil to begin with. I don’t care if you think last night’s baseball game was great. I don’t care if you’ve lost your book. I don’t care if you like someone. I don’t care if someone teased you about your haircut. I don’t care if you forgot to do your homework. I don’t care if you left your book at home. I don’t care if you don’t like someone. I don’t care if someone beside you passed gas. I don’t care who’s spreading rumors about you. I don’t care if the person seated behind you is tapping your desk with her foot. I don’t care if someone told you shut up. I don’t care if you’ll forget what you were going to say if you don’t say it now, to someone seated on the other side of the room. I don’t care if someone made a comment about your shoes. I don’t care if someone threatened to pour milk on your head. I don’t care if you wanted to talk to him. I don’t care if you don’t want to work with him or with her. I don’t care if someone made a joke about your grades. I don’t care if you needed some attention and so continually cut up in class. I don’t care if someone threw your book in the garbage on the way out. I don’t care about any of your childish, kindergarten problems.

All of these statements have been true. Sometimes many of them have been true at the same moment; at other times, only a handful. Usually, the moment passes and I remember that I do care. Of course, some of these things are so trivial that my concern matches their triviality, but I think you’re still too young to understand that fully. Still, the moment most of them become true most of the time or, heaven forbid, all of them are true all of the time will be the moment I realize I must leave teaching.

I thought for a moment this afternoon that that was the case.

Frustrated,
Your Teacher for Three More Months and Thankfully Not a Day Longer

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