Finding Gold

Delyssa Begay Education, Life in the Classroom

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On this beautiful Sunday afternoon in Northeastern Arizona, I sit before my laptop. The kids are at Grandma’s, and I can read and write without the disruptions of children’s curiosities and burgeoning independence. I checked my email account and realized that the mail had piled up, accumulating things like personal horoscopes, department store sales, and more ads for more stores. They hadn't been opened; I knew they were not relevant.

 

The box was a mess, so I started to weed out the important and non-important. That’s when I noticed an email from a colleague I’d not opened. It had been sent about ten days ago! I had not noticed it amid the ads and surprising mail that had made it past spam filters. 

 

It was gold. Turns out that my colleague and friend had read my earlier post expressing doubt, maybe frustration about teaching. He reassured that I am a teacher, a “real” one.  That email lifted my spirits and assured me that those moments pass.

 

He reminded me that when a person cares about something deeply, that person will feel doubt at times because that person wants to be better. In my case, it would be my teaching. If I did not care about my students, then I’d care less about my practice. Doubt can be a good thing – it means we know there maybe another way to improve. 

 

It’s vital that teachers look out for one another, that we appreciate one another’s practice, and that we acknowledge it, because sometimes we forget. We forget in the hustle and bustle of lesson planning, grading, IEP meetings, lunch duty, and personal lives. The fact that the acknowledgement came by way of a colleague in the same department showed that my colleague cared and respected my practice. I want to honor my colleagues, too, and to look out for moments to remind them that they make a difference. We are people and we can do that for one another. 

 

 

DeLyssa Begay

Many Farms, Arizona

I belong to the Black Sheep People. My clan is my mother’s, and my father’s is One-Who-Walks-Around People. I am granddaughter to the Bitter Water and Red-Streak-into-Running Water Peoples. That’s mouthful, but it is my identity.

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