Aaron Belz captures the humble & precious role of a teacher who loves his students

by Mr. Sheehy

I love the guy. I want to ask people to pray for him and his family, but I can’t figure out what my role is, exactly, other than Jeremy’s Spring 2014 English professor. His circumstances have moved me to tears many times, though. His second essay is still in my binder ready to hand back. I realize that in him I see all my students from the past and present, which now number in the thousands, a whole host of young to middle-aged people who have, for some short time at least, needed to master some aspect of English literature or language. Mostly they’ve needed to learn how to write creatively or academically. Usually they have a requirement to meet, and I assume that was the case with Jeremy. Not an English major—just a kid working to get through community college credits to reach his own career goal. God bless him and his family, this is what we’re all doing, struggling toward whatever future, and not to be cut down mid-struggle. If college is inherently hopeful, this sort of outcome is absurd.

I would have copied the entire article from Aaron Belz as he laments the impending death of one of his students, but I chose to post this part as it captures beautifully what the experience of teaching often is like: we are pouring ourselves into our students’ lives, but, really, each of us interacts with only the smallest smidgen of each person’s experience. It’s a naturally humbling thing. As far as the other profound things Belz says, I’ll recommend you head over to St. Louis Magazine and read them for yourself.

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