My husband often refers to Starbucks as "five bucks," and indeed, it is ridiculous what the masses (including me) will pay for a latte -- especially when facing facilitating a professional development session at 7 a.m on a crisp, cool Tuesday morning. Today, as I waited impatiently for a non-fat/no-whip pumpkin spice venti, the only thing that had kept me from hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock one last time, I took a deep breath and mentally walked through the morning's agenda. Shaking my head, sighing deeply, I began to wonder if the three hours I had devoted to planning this PD over the weekend really mattered.
The promise of a new school year is beginning to dull. The days are getting shorter, stress is running high as the first grading window draws to a close, Fall Break still feels like a fantasy on a calendar far, far away, and it's getting harder and harder not to question my effectiveness as a lone TOSA shared between two turn-around schools in need of far more resources than I could ever hope to offer. And just then, in the middle of daydreaming about switching name badges with the barista, sending her into the middle school in my place so that I could hide behind a counter and smell coffee grounds all day, an amazing thing happened. A sign? Divine intervention? Something like that...my whole outlook on the day and my choice of career path was clarified...all before I had my first sip of caffeine.
A tentative tap on the shoulder. "Um...Mrs. Cuthbertson?" Turning, a near 6' broad-shouldered, deep voiced, filled in high schooler stood, smiling sheepishly. A foggy nod and small smile from me was all it took to be wrapped in a bear hug by this grown human being, whose face reminded me of a less-chiseled, softer version that sat used to sit in the second pod of my 6th grade literacy classroom at Columbia Middle School, in what felt like moments, but had in actuality been years, ago.
"Look at you! All grown up and at Rangeview....sophomore, right?"
The deep laugh. "Nope. Junior!" Before I could ask a follow-up question he pressed on. "You'll never believe it. I've got a 4.3 GPA, marching band is awesome this year, planning a great show, and oh yeah, I love my English class by the way...but I want to be an engineer. Thinking about School of Mines...or maybe BYU Hawaii..."
"Wow. That's great," I marveled.
"Well, anyway...it was good to see you. And by the way, thank you, "he added pointedly, before handing me a sleeve for my steaming drink.
As he rushed out the door tray of drinks in hand for what I could only assume were fellow marching band or first period friends, I took a sip, exhaled in satisfaction and thought, no...thank you...