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Both of my students came to their piano lessons yesterday, sat down and immediately asked it they could add a few minutes to the timer and set it for 32 or 35 minutes instead of 30! It is a delight to think they want to stay longer.

But what about the kids in English class I must face again today. The ones who grunt in answer to direct questions such as “Can you tell me of an instance in the book where Susanna shows she is smart,” knowing the paper proving some attribute of a character is days overdue. The ones who shut down at the very sight of me, or maybe just any adult or figure of authority. The ones who have been taught that it is a good idea to fear and deny those who reach out to help. The ones who make it plain that somewhere along the line the idea of interacting with others like me is dangerous. It is so unlike the students who embrace my help and seek me out and work with me to lift them up.

I feel for those kids in class who spend more time crafting ridiculous things to say in an effort to get rid of me, than they do crafting anything useful. They could be thinking up clever things to tell the world to get back at whoever or whatever put them in the hole they are in, in the first place. I feel for the kids who cannot see that the best way to get out of their misery is to accept the free education we are offering. What promise these kids hold that they have the angst and anxiety and pain and suffering that would speak so well to the world if they could articulate it and be brave to share it. The disaffected kids of my classroom have much to teach us all about human spirit if only they would learn to organize a sentence and string it with others to make a paragraph, use specifics to prove their points and tell us all to go to hell in a way that makes it clear that teaching kids to fear adults is a bad idea.

That’s why I try to be a piano teacher that the kids enjoy, so they want to come back, and so I can teach them there is at least one adult around who can be trusted. Not that I worry about that for any of my students particularly. But it makes me feel good, just in case.

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