Survival - Mark Johnson

The other day I was at a meeting away from school when I received a text (not about a cat murder this time). Someone from school was asking me for advice on a situation that came up, and so I texted them back and forth for a bit while also trying to attend to the meeting. Soon the issue was resolved and i was back in the present moment. However, as soon as the meeting was over, and the small talk around the table died away, I stood up to go. Someone asked where I was off to in such a hurry. I explained that I needed to get back to my building. The person said, quite sarcastically, “You know, they can survive without you.” Without hesitation, and with all sincerity I responded, “It’s not that they can’t survive without me. It’s that I can’t survive without them.”

There is a quote that has been around for quite some time. It goes like this: “If you love your job, you will never have to work a day in your life.” This wisdom is attributed to people like Confucius and Marc Anthony, among others. And to a great extent, I agree with this quote whole-heartedly. I happen to be in a profession that I love, and many days do not feel like work at all. Many days things just come together in a natural flow, kids get along with kids, teachers work together with students, learning is taking place, and the ethos of the building is completely copacetic.

Other days, however, this is not the case at all. Kids don’t get along with other kids, teachers lose their tolerance level with their students, misbehaviors and outbursts take the place of learning, and the ethos of the building is one of utter and complete chaos. And there is work involved. A lot of work. And it feels like work. But that doesn’t mean i don’t love my job. I love my job in spite of the days where it feels like work. I love my job even when it feels like things are hanging on by a very thin thread, and one snip of the universe’s scissors will send us all spiraling into oblivion.

Even on those days, i love my job. You see, i can’t survive without it. I can’t survive without the students and the teachers and the staff and the laughter and the tears and the fights and the complaining and the praises and the failures and the successes. It’s the same way with family. Family is messy and awesome and crazy at the same time. In that sense, I consider my school family my “second family” and this building my “second home.” That’s the way it feels to me, anyway.

I can’t survive without it.