Once there was a man who believed he had it himself to spend his life in the classroom. He loved being in class, teaching kids – hoping that maybe they’d learn more from him than whatever academics the Ministry of education believed these children should know. He spent his days teaching First Nation kids and working on his Master’s degree in Comparative Canadian Literature. He truly believed his life had nowhere to go but to better places.
There was this one kid, about fourteen years old, who couldn’t keep out of trouble. He spent his days in the principal’s office or at home, suspended. He had spent the Christmas holidays in juvenile detention, for breaking the law once too many.
One day the boy had to stay in class during recess, so the well-meaning teacher used that opportunity for some one-on-one time with him. His intentions were to try and create a small bond with the child, to maybe help him out a little bit. The teacher believed his responsibilities to the children went beyond the classroom.
So they talked a little bit. The boy opened up a little; he welcomed the conversation. He wouldn’t not look up from the floor, but he talked. The teacher wasn’t lecturing or telling him what to do. The teacher wanted to give his student some direction. “What would you like to do, for work, as an adult,” he asked.
“I want …” he trailed off, obviously shy. He finally looked up at the teacher and added: “I want to be a police officer.”
The teacher looked at him, not quite believing what he had heard. “Your grades need to be on average at least 85%, and right now you’re averaging 35%. And … and you can’t have a criminal record to be a police officer.”
“But that’s what I want to be.” He said, determined.
“Alright,” the teacher muttered.
About two months later, at the end of the school year, the boy was in juvenile detention again. He did not graduate seventh grade. He was locked in a facility, being rehabilitated.
The teacher quit his job, and never finished his Master’s degree. Now, he spends his days in a job where the worst that could happen is getting killed. Much less worse, he felt, than trying to catch the summer breeze with a net.