It was a long week. I lay awake at 3am Wednesday morning. I wept on my drive home. I was so angry my fingers shook. I sobbed in my upstairs hallway.
But Thursday was different.
I realized yesterday that I’m your worst nightmare.
- A woman
- Well-educated, with multiple degrees
- Anti-racist, equality seeker
- LGBT ally
- (and what the heck let’s add this one, too) Animal loving vegetarian
And I am your child’s teacher.
I am that list (and more) and I get up every day and teach your kids how to question, think, and read. I don’t tell anyone about the list of things that I am. I demonstrate a lot of it without saying a word. I am teaching your children how to write well and research but I’m also teaching them how to respect and understand people, to be a kind and tolerant human, because that’s what I demonstrate every day, quietly, in my classroom.
Some of your kids will grow up and adopt your same dying and narrow-minded beliefs. But just as many will learn from the kindness, love, and tolerance of teachers, mentors, friends, and communities and then, and this is the scary part for you, I know, there will be more people who have a list just like mine. I know that’s why this is happening now, this week, and for the next 4 years. I know that’s why you made the choices you did, voted the way you did, even if you don’t know it yourself.
But the truth is: You can’t change my list of things. You can’t stop me from being what I am. I can’t be scrubbed out. I don’t have to be loud to make a difference. I’ll still be teaching your kids in a year, in 5 years, 10, 20, and 30 years. There will always be hatred and intolerance but, just the same, there will always be people like me.
I’m your worst nightmare and I’m not going anywhere.