101 Students

Last night I had another Disney nightmare. They happen at least once a week, and they’re something I think about a lot. A typical Disney nightmare involves arriving at one of the Disney parks only to find things topsy-turvy, and the characters and performers acting very wrong (for instance on one memorable occasion they had hired men to hang out with Rapunzel. Men who had not even shaved their beards). Basically everything is wrong and then the dream usually ends with me weeping to whichever friend is making a cameo appearance in the dream (who also will frustratingly not see anything wrong with say, men with beards being cast as Rapunzel).

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A bunch of my Disney friends just moved to Shanghai to help the new park open. I stalk their China photos, jealous that their Disney adventure worked out and mine didn’t. Leaving was the right thing for me, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I miss it. I miss the lovely people, living at the happiest place on Earth, and of course, Rapunzel. I miss the possibilities and the experience that it should have been. But as hard as it still is to realize that that particular dream isn’t going to work out the way I hoped, I’m very lucky to have had the experience, and very lucky to have a job that I love now.

Teaching is everything I hoped that working at Disney would be, but wasn’t. Every day I get to make memories with my kids AND I get to see them the next day and the day after and see how the things they’ve learned are changing how they think. I still get to give out hugs, and sometimes to students I don’t even know, but it feels even better because I’m getting these hugs as me, not as someone else (I’ve even signed a few autographs). The school I work at is small enough that I know the other staff and I feel like they value my opinions. As much as I loved the group I worked with, Disney employs 70,000 people. I never met my boss, let alone had the chance to share ideas, nor did I even know everyone I worked with.

I love that I can get kids excited about reading and learning about other places. When I first started, some of the administration wondered if we should choose another name for the “Book Club” elective that I would be teaching, because “Book Club” might not sound cool enough. Yesterday, a student told me that she wished she could be in Book Club because the students in it are always talking about the fun things they’re doing.

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I don’t think the Disney nightmares are going to go away any time soon, especially since I do still wish my job there had worked out and because I do miss Disneyworld. But life has a way of moving on even when we don’t expect it to.

Teaching isn’t glamorous, I don’t get to wear a ballgown or get asked to pose for photos, but I think about my students, all 101 of them, and know that though my adventure might not be taking place in Sunny Orlando or Shanghai, and might seem a whole lot less like an adventure than if I lived in one of those places, it’s the right one for me.

Stay magical readers!

 

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