Fighting the good fight

As of late, the slightest thing will set off my emotions. I suppose that has been true all of my life but the trigger has been much more sensitive while I’ve been Lesotho, especially the last few days.

There is no specific pattern of the things that can send me into tears, a deep melancholy state or a prison of obsessive thoughts. Sometimes it is watching an adult whip an animal. Sometimes it is a vague message or the lack of one. Sometimes it is a television show. Case in point, the season 5 finale of the Big Bang Theory, when Sheldon says “Go Boldly, Howard Holowitz, had me ruminating for days on how I can be more bold.

It’s almost as if I am irrational pregnant lady who spews emotions without control but I assure you that I am not. Just an irrational lady who spews emotions without control. I say all this now to sort of explain how I reached the following conclusion on my work and impact

Last night, underneath three blankets, I watched “Argo” and I was struck by a particular part at the end. Tony met his boss in the parking lot after he turned in items related to the Argo mission to records. They shared a joke about the length of time and failures it takes to get a success. In this heightened emotion state, I found inspiration in this and wanted to do something really meaningful in this world. As if I wasn’t already.

I woke up in a fog. I felt rejected and like a failure, only because of situations I’ve created in my head. I went to school with the usual indifference attitude, like I’ve given up on being anything but a person who was once here.

The students will begin writing exams next week so this week they are supposed to revising but they spend most of the time goofing off. I went into my Form B class a bit annoyed because they wouldn’t settle down. Writing is a big part of their English exams so I gave them a practice composition. They were supposed to describe, in one-page length, a person they love. Most of them, naturally, wrote about boyfriends and girlfriends, but a few explored their admiration for siblings, parents and friends.

One composition, though, declared the student’s love for ‘M’e Kenni. That is me. Now, this isn’t the first time a student has chosen to write about me but it was definitely a message I need to hear today. She said that I was the first teacher who helped her to speak and write properly and that I was always willing to explain an assignment unlike other teachers. She compared me to a diamond in the sky, clearing taken from a recent Rhianna hit, but still sweet nonetheless.

When I was starting and managing “The Post” every day felt like a battle. I got up and prepared myself to do the best I could for something I truly believed in. In the trenches, it seemed like there were more challenges than successes but that never stopped me. I was blinded by passion.

Now, I am not passionate about teaching and I’ve come to accept that. However, I am still in love with the idea of helping others and giving a piece of myself to them. As a volunteer, the payback is even lower than it was for an online magazine editor with few staff and virtually no resources.

Yet, if you hold on long enough, that W will come. I’ve been afraid, based on the pile of tough emotions, that I am not doing work I truly believe in, that I am not passionate about it. But I am. That’s why I am sent into tears when my students don’t understand something or take it far too personally when the failure rate is higher than it should be. I get up every day to do it and I continue to stick it out, even though I could leave just like I eventually left “The Post.”

This student’s essay was a reminder that I do have a purpose and I am fulfilling it. As vain as it is, sometimes we need successes to remind us the good fight is always worth fighting. It’s been a long fight, but I won’t back down now.

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