As a teacher, I watched out for my students. But who was watching out for me?
byMay 15, 2017
My little dog, Teddy, tugged on his leash, interrupting my thoughts as we walked through my condo complex. The mornings were our time together and Teddy, a Lhasa Apo, got impatient if he didn’t have my full, undivided attention.
“Sorry, Teddy,” I said with a small smile. My thoughts were all over the place this morning. The public school where I worked as a special education teacher was on break. I was thankful for the time off, but I felt completely stressed about the prospect of returning to work. My job was challenging. Too challenging sometimes. Resources were limited. Class sizes were big. I felt all alone in the classroom, like I had no support. How long could I keep going on like this? I was watching out for my students. But who was watching out for me? Teddy and I cut through one of the parking lots on the complex grounds. I caught sight of one of my neighbors, Mr. Simon. He was retired, but still got up early every morning to check on one of the businesses he owned. I caught his eye and waved.
I felt the leash tug again. Teddy wanted up on the grass embankment just behind where Mr. Simon’s car was parked. I let him up, reached into my coat for a plastic bag and—
Step up onto the grass! a voice said from out of nowhere. It was so clear, so firm, that I had no choice but to obey. I jumped up onto the embankment. Just as I did, something hard and cold lightly grazed my left heel.
I spun around and gasped. It was the bumper of Mr. Simon’s car! He’d accidently rear-ended the curb of the embankment, exactly where I’d been standing seconds earlier. He must’ve not seen me there. What if I hadn’t stepped up on the grass? What if I hadn’t heard that voice? What if…?
I returned to school a few days later with a renewed sense of purpose. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I knew now, without a doubt, someone was watching out for me.