The Waiting Game

by Lisa Miller

On our first day as teachers, we pulled into our assigned parking spaces and strode into the building with purpose, with dreams, like this was our religion. Invested with the knowledge and skills to pour the wonders of the world into each student's mind, not one of us started out believing anything less than miracles would flow through our classrooms. We would love the unlovable, teach the unteachable, coach the hesitant, support the weary, and mold the half-formed and willing young minds into eager learners. It was a beautiful dream that collapsed and was driven underground for so many of us, until the dream of making a difference became a tiny, flickering flame hidden in our hearts, only to be brought forth and blown on to light the desire to learn in the rare student who came to us and asked for more. Because so few students asked for anything more than a decent grade so they could move on and graduate, we gave according to what they would accept, and then watched them flutter off like sparrows to face the wind and wherever it took them. Like nuns, we grew old and rheumy-eyed from days and nights spent over our books, but we also grew tough and singular in our religion to find worthy minds, the questing minds, through which we might live on as the teachers who showed them the joy and the light of life-long learning.


Lisa Miller, author of So Blue, is Currently Dreaming. She finds six sentences to be the perfect length to tell a little story.