|photo Pixabay CC/NA|
Since I was on break and the fact that some porch pirates had stolen a package off of my front porch while I was doing dishes earlier in the week, I was keenly aware of when my postal carrier was most likely arriving at my doorstep. When I saw him approaching our porch, my intent was to minimize the carriers exposure to the elements and relatedly my mail, to the bucket-filling rain. I was not expecting the response.
The carrier handed me my mail and then called me by name. Not the name on the envelope, "Mr Johnson" I was still processing the seemingly out of place recognition. It was similar to when you encounter a student in the grocery store or street fair. Out of context or a familiar surrounding, recognizing a student, parent, or co-worker is not always instantaneous or a given.
The voice was familiar, but the face mask, thermal hat, and zipped high collared coat didn't give me any hints as to who certainly knew me. Even after his bearded face was revealed, it took me a second to register the letter carrier's self-identification.
A former classmate in our Transition to Teaching cohort and a co-worker at my first school. After my first year, he was to take over my first-grade class and I moved to his fourth-grade class at the request of our administrators. I left the charter school shortly before the start of the new school year to join a larger, more stable district. I saw him a couple of years later at a meet-and-greet for conference presenters where he was playing keys for the night. Teaching and loving it.
A gifted and kind teacher, I assumed he was picking up some extra work during the holidays. I was wrong. We lost another one. A teacher who couldn't hold on. I don't know what the specific reason was, but it really doesn't matter.
We lost another one. To the Post Office. A teacher who would rather work in the rain, sleet, and snow, and on this day all in the same day, than suffer through the low pay, disrespect, shifting priorities from politicians, and high-stakes testing.
We lost another one. It breaks my teacher heart.
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