The Smile

I remember when Macias asked my TA, “How do you like being her TA?” It wasn’t a nice question, I could tell, but I was distracted by one of my students trying to sneak out of my room.

After the room cleared, my TA asked me if I had heard the conversation. “Miss, I told him it was alright, but then he wanted to know if it didn’t get boring,” he paused. I braced myself. Quietly, he finished: “I told him that you help me a lot.” It was kind. He was trying to say thank you and he was trying to make up for the grief certain students cause me. It was rare.

My darned initiative put me in charge of a resume writing workshop next week. This means schedules and e-mails and a dozen annoying questions a day for the next two weeks. Somehow I’m supposed to coordinate myself and five other teachers in three rooms to get over 80 students to write a resume in under two hours. If I’m not grading or studying for the math PRAXIS or pouring over someone’s resume or serving as a college counselor for my TA, I’m running hither and thither to hand out papers. Doing just this on my way out of the facility, my TA came up to me in his pod with a huge smile on his face.

The major said they knew a place nearby that could remove tattoos for much cheaper than I had found. How would he pay for it? Would the major arrange for the transportation for all 15 treatments? Again, he shared good news that the major was still looking for funding, or that he might have a cousin help him. He looked like he was floating with relief. I was turning to go when he added that two colleges had sent him admissions packets. It occured to me several minutes later what seemed so strange about him. He was smiling. I had never seen him smile like that before.

What was it that my boss told me that morning? We’re in the business of changing lives. I’d like to believe that, and for a moment I did. I smiled.

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About hey miss

A teacher. A prison guard. I used to think that was like oil and water. Like lightening and metal. Some days it is. Some days it's magic.
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