A few weeks ago while reading at the pool, I saw a father playing with a few of the kids at the apartment complex. Between sessions of tossing them into the pool, he would stop at read a few papers. With a red pen in his hand, I figured he was grading papers so he must be some kind of teacher or professor. The table he sat at provided him with the just the right amount of shade to clearly see his work, while giving his back a nice tan.
This morning I was the first person at the pool so I set up shop at the same table to warm my back with the sun's mid-morningh rays. The neighbor behind me had some kind of mix playing in his apartment, so music wasn't needed. He's the hippie who steps out on his porch every morning to chat with his plants while his wife makes a pot of coffee for them to enjoy later on.
So I set off and worked on my teaching assignments. Powering through my field notes, I watched as the complex slowly woke up. Enjoying my cup of coffee and Pandora music mix, I showed no mercy in my observational write-up. As I finished my assignment, I heard a somewhat familiar voice behind me say, "Good morning!" as the gate opened up. I turned around and realized the voice was probably directed at me, since no one else was at the pool. So I responded with a, "Good morning, how are you doing?" and recognized the face. It was the same father from a few weeks ago, this time leading his son to the other side of the pool deck, with their bikes at the ready for an adventure.
He stopped for a minute as I asked him if he was a teacher of some kind because I thought I noticed he was grading papers a few weeks back. He told me he was a chemistry and physics teacher at a local high school. "You seem like you're hard at work," he said to me as I muted Pandora to further inquire about his profession. His son was now a few steps ahead of him so I told him I wouldn't delay his day but I'd like to sit down and talk to him about his profession one day, as I had just begun my work at a middle school for UM.
Chris, my neighbor caddy corner to me, just across the pool-- a high school teacher who spends time with his kids every weekend despite having constant papers to grade. If me sitting at this very table, on this very morning, working on my future teaching career as he steps out with his son, isn't some kind of sign for my future profession, then I don't know what is.
I've struggled with seeing signs lately, constantly wondering if my belief system is just a crock of hippie wishful thinking. But I don't think it is, and this was an oddly refreshing interaction. And if all it does is improve this one hour of time for me, that'd be enough.