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A walk in the park

November 24, 2009

I just reread my last entry and it smacks of self-pity.  I did not intend to invoke anyone’s sympathy for me; I am in no way suffering or sacrificing  for my job.  I get more than enough satisfaction from my job to make up for the low pay, and since I’m not a big spender anyway, the low pay really isn’t a big deal to me. 

What is a big deal to me is the students who sit in my classroom every day, working to rise above social and economic systems stacked strongly against them.  Whenever I get a little weary of my work, all I have to think about is the odds my students are fighting against and I feel motivated to give 100% again.  My biggest obstacle in any given day is getting my lesson plans and grading done within enough time to have a few hours left to cook dinner and read a book before bedtime.  My students, on the other hand, face far greater obstacles:  paying for childcare, assisting their families in rituals associated with the frequent deaths on the reservation (due to accidents, drug and alcohol abuse, health complications related to low-income lifestyles, etc.), paying their lighting and heating bills (which are phenomenally high due to the poor quality of housing on the reservation)… let alone the obstacle of overcoming years of educational disparities that leave them at a disadvantage the minute they enter a college classroom.

Yet they are here, they are trying, and they are humbling me, reminding me every day of how little right I have to complain about my own situation.  I have been blessed with extremely good fortune, and, with it, the responsibility to use that good fortune to contribute something back to the world that has made my life, by comparison, a walk in the park

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