Teachers are people, too…a photo essay.

My friend Rachel is a teacher. A really, really good teacher. One of those “she changed my life and taught me how to think” kind of teachers. But she’s grown weary of the teacher life…the one I mentioned in my previous post…the one where it’s hurry, hurry, hurry from one bell to the next, making a thousand decisions a day and never getting any time to sit and think. After deciding to take a year off to write her novel, a goal which she was hoping she could execute on weekends or during Summer vacations but then realized that, if she hadn’t been able to do it in the first nine years of her career, then she probably can’t do it that way, she hired me to come to her school in Columbia, MO to photograph her life…or rather, her life inside the walls of the school she calls “work”…but only to people who aren’t teachers…because teachers use the terms “school” and “work”

It was a weird job for me…to go into someone else’s school (I have very recently been in her teacher shoes, you see) and see it as a documentarian, not an educator.  It was odd seeing my old friend in such a different role from the one I knew when we were students ourselves.  But it was great…really great…to see so many teenagers so happy and engaged in their education and school culture and, perhaps even more impressive to me, were the teachers who seemed so happy with their work and community at the school.  I was impressed and felt honored to be invited in.  I hope the photos do it justice.  I think they do.

Today, it is harder than ever to be a teacher in America.  Teachers live by a different set of rules than the rest of us…very, very unreasonable rules…and we should all take time to thank them every chance we get.  Believe me, they will appreciate that you noticed. 
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