One of the questions I was supposed to ask myself as a small boy in religion class was, “Who made me?” and I’m still asking that question, but rephrased as “Who made this teacher?” It puzzles me, really, this mystery of where this silver-haired, somewhat creased and crumpled senior citizen English teacher came from? Who, or what, made or brought or pushed or dragged or unfolded him to the point where he still loves every second he spends in the classroom? It’s a question that baffles me as much as “Where does the wind begin?” or “What made this moment?” In religion class, the answer was simple -- “God made me” -- and now that I think of it, perhaps a similar force was responsible for making the teacher my students see each day in English class. I am not a church-going person, but surely there’s something vast and endless about the powers that shaped me – the countless spoken words and books and articles and sights and events and master teachers and conversations. How can I possibly pry into these forces enough to understand the wonderful ways they worked together to assemble Mr. Salsich-the-68-year-old-teacher? And it wasn’t just people, but weathers and woodlands and mountains too, and rainstorms when I was six and days of fall light just last week. All of these, and limitless others, threw together, over forty-plus years, this still-young-at-heart instructor who, alongside his students, struggles and fails and prevails each day. Somehow it all happened, and here I am, resting at my desk, lucky to be looking forward to again finding 8th graders in my classroom in about 16 minutes.
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