National Teacher Day reminds me to count my blessings

by Jim Lang

I just had a social media epiphany.

I will admit to a slight Facebook addiction. And I, like most of my fellow Facebook users, have fallen into the trap of posting incessantly about a single topic.

While others share cute photos of their pets or children, or post play-by-play analysis of the game (often in ALL CAPS with large EXCLAMATION POINTS for emphasis), or offer the sad passive-aggressive sentiment of the hour (guess u don’t care…don’t no why I try), I have become the annoying schlump who shares my annoyance and/or complete disgust with anyone who dares to disagree with me about politics, specifically about matters concerning…you guessed it…public education.

In the last day alone, I have insulted our Democratic president, two Republican Indiana governors, and most members of the Indiana House and Senate. At least I am a bipartisan smart aleck. And while they probably deserve my sarcasm and annoyance, it occurred to me tonight that I’m stuck in one long social media rant. And while my posts aren’t nearly as annoying as 72 photos of a cat wearing a Christmas sweater, they’re beginning to make me look bitter. Or insane. Or both.

So, I want to take the time to clarify that my apparent bitterness…or insanity…actually stems from my absolute love of teaching.

I love my job. In fact, I love it a little more each day. I believe in the nobility and importance of my chosen profession. And despite all of the challenges, annoyances, and added pressures from politicians that mistakenly believe they know how to do my job better than I do (uh oh, there I go being bitter again), I am still the world’s luckiest teacher.

I am blessed to work in a school with peers and colleagues who are truly some of the most selfless, talented people I know. The consistent excellence at Floyd Central High School still astounds me, and I’ve taught there for seventeen years.

I get to walk into my classroom each day and work with the best kids anywhere, knowing that no administrator will censor or prior review their publications.

I have an entire network of fellow journalism and media advisers out there that I can reach out to for advice, support, ideas, and laughs. They truly are my journalism family.

And most significantly, I have the honor of teaching, knowing, and laughing with some of the most special people I know…my students. The only part more meaningful than teaching them has been watching so many of them grow up to be such incredible, impactful, moral adults and citizens.

They are my kids, and they are my greatest blessings.

So, I’ll continue to post my rants just as often as others share photos of their sleeping puppy or of the salad they ate for lunch. I suppose it has become my way to speak out, to defend my students, colleagues, and school.

Or, maybe it’s just a bizarre form of Facebook therapy.

But, for today, I’ll just count my many blessings.

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