As these gift-days do, it began with time behaving strangely, normal behaviour for a Wednesday: one can't believe it isn't Friday when Monday seems so long ago. The gift-moment is wrapped in crumpled brown paper, tied with tired, disintegrating string.
This past Wednesday was one such day.
We had an emergency at work that forced us to cancel our classes. Unfortunately for me, it happened on the day of my Fairytales class, which being an elective, happens to be one of my favorites. Our classes are three hours long, and I was especially looking forward to this week's, since it would have been the last instructional session before the exams and assignments descend upon us, to remind us to somehow quantify our experience that often defies brackets and descriptors.
As if on cue, our emergency hit exactly the moment before my first phrase could breathe. For the next that couple of hours we were out, I felt cheated, my two special hours stolen, never to be replaced. I discovered I was actually angry enough to nurse a headache, something I haven't felt in at least a couple of years. At the end of two hours, everyone told me to forget about my class and just go home. Being unreasonably angry, though, I didn't listen. I marched up to the classroom, planning to leave a regret-note on the board before leaving.
I was pleasantly surprised to see students waiting for me! They told me of others who had just checked in and missed me. We had but 45 minutes before class ended, but those minutes, to me, felt like a gift, benevolent rain to appease my unbecoming rage.
These minutes helped me realise that beyond grades, beyond paychecks, beyond competition, beyond degrees, there lies a brilliant, undying, thirsty spirit that impels our species' need to forever discover and reinvent.
It is to my students' awareness of this consciousness that I dedicate this entry. I can never quantify this awareness, or my gratitude for it, in terms of faculty development points or survey statistics, but this awareness is what qualifies me, more than my documented credentials.
Now, I am better prepared, I find: I have a list of specific cafes and ice-cream shops, where I shall suggest my class meet me, should another emergency try to steal hours from us.