Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Little Mountain Cottage Classroom

 After arriving back in Taiwan from Saudi, I took a job at the university high school and began heading up their drama and performance department.  I was appointed a little room, more of a cottage really, on the outskirts of campus on the edge of a mountain forest.
 
White walls, two chalkboards, and a deep collection of dust almost as old as the sixty year mortar foundation laid beneath my feet.  
The previous teacher had been ousted for incompetence and his predecessor fired for fist-fighting in the school quad.  The teacher before that had been dismissed for unscrupulous behavior and that's as far back as anyone was willing to share.  I didn't inquire further...
I immediately set to work cleaning, scrubbing, mopping, dusting, and throwing out every piece of existing clutter.  I was bound and determined to make this place my own.  
 The desks were littered with graffiti... (believe me, this is the only desk without profanity)...the cupboards caked in years of grime, file cabinets stocked with old banana peels and busted out shoes... I found a dead rodent behind the book shelf and a small family of toads seeking asylum beneath the podium...completely camouflaged like dropped stones in a quiet riverbed.
There was other stuff too...
 Broken desks coated with years of dust... mindless debris... and a staleness to the air inside...
But you know me... I rolled up my sleeves and got to work...
 I saw potential...I will always see what no one else sees...
 This little mountain cottage classroom... all mine.

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