Chuck's column: Hello againRosemount High School teacher Chuck Brooks will write a weekly column called View from My Room. Check out his first installment.
For some of you older folks who’ve been around awhile, this is going to have a certain ring of déjà vu for you. And for the rest, this will be a totally new concept for you to grasp.
You already know my name is Chuck Brooks, based on the byline above. Many of you probably know I’m an English teacher at Rosemount High School. This fall, I’m beginning year 31. Yup. I’ve gotten old.
Many years ago, I wrote an article, rather regularly, in another local newspaper. I am sure many of you remember. I still get many who comment on those columns and the time within which I wrote them. The column was intended to remind people what it was like to be in school.
I wrote about the tears, the joys, the quirks, the fads…. I tried to write about the heart and soul of what it was like to be a teacher with teenagers. I was always amazed at the feedback I received and was always grateful. That time in my career has never left my memory. I teach writing. I love the art of doing so. What better role model for my students than to return to writing myself.
I remember writing a column once regarding the onset of a fad that seems to still thrive today, with just a bit more advancement in the world of technology. The topic was two-fold. It was the start of pagers. Everyone had to have a pager. Kids galore had pagers. We adults just looked at each other, wondering why. Obviously, that’s advanced now to cell phones, the teacher’s worst enemy in the classroom. The second topic was the dropping waistline for pants worn by the guys. That, as you all know, has not changed as well. The piece I wrote was satirical in nature. Even a bit of a parody of both topics. It got some attention. Primarily from the kids, who really are not my target audience, but I got a charge out of their emotional reaction to what I had to say about their world.
Another column topic concerned our English department coordinator who was retiring and the nature of the topic was a tribute to what still remains in my mind to be one of the finest teachers and ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I took the liberty of departing from the world of school on the tenth anniversary of my mother’s passing and wrote about her. That column received such overwhelming responses from adults who told me they reached out to their surviving parent(s) immediately after reading it that words couldn’t convey my gratitude to their comments.
And the list grew as did the topic choices.
So, I write this first “column” (for lack of something else to label it) and push it off to the powers that be at the Rosemount Town Pages. I began to think this summer about the fact I have two years left in this “business.” And never was education in the world of hurt it’s in now. I suppose there are those above me who cringe knowing I think this, but many of us think it. Overcrowded classrooms, financial woes, homes with issues that produce troubled kids, and so on and so on. And I am not sure when it happened, but today it feels like we, in the business of educating kids, are under fire constantly. It’s troubling. And I have much to share regarding it as well. It all bleeds into the classroom.
I also want to share that when the bad “stuff” exists, there are always the kids, who have always been able to lift me from the basement to the top of the roof. They have kept me young all these years. I recently announced the Leprechaun Days parade and, despite how much I love summer freedom, seeing so many of my students IN the parade gave me that little surge of happiness I quietly savored, and then returned to willing the clock to slow down its progress on summer.
And with that thought, I leave you for now. If the paper gives this their thumbs-up, we shall see you here again soon.