Posted by: krusty505 | July 1, 2011

Ms. Mary D.

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been mired in thesis hell! All I’ve been doing is burying my brain in APA formatting, trying to get this document to be compatible with UNM’s guidelines, make sure it’s defensible, communicating with my incredibly patient thesis adviser, and trying to complete this project and finally be ‘done’ with it; I defend on July 12, so it’s been a little stressful, and not conducive to blogging, but my draft is ‘finished’ and in the hands of my committee. Hence, I’m prepared to write a bit for pleasure.

Some of you may have read “The Worldly Child.” Some may not have, but here is a follow up.

Shortly after I posted that story, I got an email from an ex-colleague who knew who Ms. Mary D. was. (In my original post, Mary D. is a special ed. teacher who finds this particular child’s story about being “home schooled” by his obviously crazy mother atrocious, and she takes matters into her own hands to try to teach this illiterate 14 year old how to read.) The colleague who contacted me told me that I should call Mary and tell her the story of the worldly child. I mean, what teacher wouldn’t want to hear a story about how she changed a student’s life by giving him this great gift of literacy? Teachers live for that!

So I called her. Unfortunately, she was out of town, therefore, it took us a few weeks to get to talk one-on-one.

I finally got a call back from her last week. It was good to catch up, and I was psyched to tell her this great story about what a super awesome teacher she is. She wanted to know all about our program and what kind of work I was doing. She has spent the vast majority of a long career working with the kind of students I see when they are older; she is no stranger to “at risk” youth, and she was really interested in the jail program. Of course, I love my job and really enjoy this demographic, and I let her know that in no uncertain terms. In a very real way, I feel I’ve found my “calling” with teaching. It just fits for me, and I told her so.

Anyway, after a few minutes of telling her exactly how it works at the jail and how much I love it, I delved full-force into the story of Child’s Play aka the Worldly Child. As I was telling the story, there was no sound on the other line, dead silence. I was thinking to myself, ‘I’ve got this fish on a hook. I bet she’s getting all choked up and teary-eyed! Total softy.’ Instead of waiting for any questions she may have had, I plunged ahead wanting the full brunt and impact of the story to hit her. I figured she’d be overwhelmed and incredibly thankful.

I finished telling the story with what I hoped was a bit of panache and flourish, and there was still no response on the other end. I swear I heard crickets chirping. I was thinking, ‘she’s speechless; she’s beside herself; she’s dumfounded,’ but instead after this monumental pause she says, “That’s a really great story, Chris, and I’m glad you told me, but I hate to say this. I have no Earthly recognition of that child! Are you sure he’s thinking of the right teacher?”

I was, literally, stupefied! Here I thought she was going to remember this kid and be super thankful, when in point of fact, she had had so many “worldly children” pass through her class, that she didn’t even remember him. It was a monumental lesson in how many kids teachers affect and how you never know what that effect is when the kids are showing up and acting out, and generally you’re just trying to do damage control and keep some semblance of order in the chaotic world that is public education.

So after my long and pregnant pause, Mary says to me, “You know what the best part of your story is for me?”

“No. What?”

“That you found a place where you are happy and that you love what you’re doing. Those guys out there really need you, and I bet they love you, Chris.”

So who do you think ended up crying?



  1. Totally awesome babe! Great “punch line.” I remember how excited you were to tell her the story. She did a 180 on you though, you big softie.

  2. This made me laugh when you told me, and it made me laugh when I read it again. Natalie is right, you are a big softie! (Still chuckling…She got you!)

    • I think this job is making me a big softie.

  3. No, you have just been a closet softie. I love what you are doing and I love Ms. Mary D too. I am glad you shared!

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