Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Teacher Becomes The Shepherd

The cacophonous bell breaks an eerie silence as it's clang enters the ears of every student at Leonard Nimoy High School. A raucous shuffle ensues as teachers yell final assignments over deaf ears and the hall fills with commotion. One teacher stands at his door and takes in the sights and sounds as oxygen. He breaths, looking forward to the next onslaught of eager minds ready to take him for all his worth. This won't happen for another 2 hours, so he quietly bows out of the doorway and walks to his humble desk like a proud warrior walks to his steed. The slamming lockers and vocal buzz softly fills his empty room through the open door. The chair creaks as he sits and the intercom buzzes over head.
"Mr. Thorne?" came the voice from overhead.
"Yes?" head tilted, eyes down, ears up.
"Mr. Stricthouser would like to see you."
"Right now."
"Okay, I'll be right down." Mr. Thorn closes a few books, opens a calendar, writes some notes, shuffles some papers and sticks a pen in his breast pocket. He pushes himself off the desk and proceeds to the Principal's office. The still busy halls receive him with smiles and greetings from students. On his way he nods and smiles expecting the best from everyone he encounters. Respect is an afterthought. He strives to challenge.
In the stairwell, he wonders and his knees buckle slightly as he ponders, a "What if" scenario. He catches himself, mentally and physically and continues the journey through the administration office past a couple dejected students sitting in some chairs outside Mr. Stricthouser's office.
"Chin up, Thomas. It's a learning process, just take this like a man, and walk out of this place better for it."
"Yes Sir, Mr. Thorne."
"And Ralph, you've got to start acting like the guy I know you are. Learn some self control and you can soar."
"Yes Sir, Mr. Thorne." He looks at Tommy and snickers.
Mr. Thorne smiles and knocks on the cracked glass pane.
"Come in," came the inevitable answer and he opens the door and shuts it behind him.


Lunch Lady Land now has a new Supervisor, Mr. Thorne. He won't be roaming the vibrant halls upstairs anymore between classes. No more savoring that fresh paper aroma on the first day of class. Hygenically challenged freshmen will have to find another teacher to ask for a spritz of Right Guard before taking on the day. The kitchen receives him like boiling water receives uncooked spaghetti.
Steam thickens the air in his new white sterilized amphitheater of food. He holds his chin up as Mr. Thorne ties on a new apron and embraces his new humiliating position in the ranks of public education. The "What if" scenario he entertained walking down those stairs 8 months ago pans out. He tries to think of his other options again, then thanks God for his new job. He would make this his briar patch and meatballs and marinara would be his specialty.
Oregano and Garlic search wanting noses on this Monday morning, the first day of school. Lunch time looms like sweetness in the air, and the Pavlovian lunch bell cues the drool at the corner of every yapping jaw. The first watering mouth enters the serene kitchen holding a tray with both hands.
"Mr. Thorne!" the sophomore yells in surprise.
"Andrew!" mimics Mr. Thorne.
"What are you doing here?"
Mr. Thorne practiced countless answers to this question for weeks before setting foot on school grounds.
"Making you a feast!" he hadn't practiced that one. There is an excitement in his voice he didn't realize was going to be there. The young minds he longs to challenge walk with hungry stomachs and he is eager to feed these wandering sheep. The flock crowds around the banqueting table and Mr. Thorne beams as he feeds their stomachs and nurtures their starving souls.
Marinara Monday turns into Turmeric Tuesday and everyone looks to Mr. Thorne for life in an otherwise dangerous pasture of loneliness and constant threat. He gives up teaching 100 and becomes the Shepherd to thousands.
Students expose their deepest secrets, teachers share their biggest struggles, and administrators find strength for the hardest challenges in his cozy kitchen.
One step closer to his destiny, he holds a wooden spoon as a metaphorical shepherd's staff and earns
earns a valuable apple of gold that year to share with his son 10 years later.


"Son, Don't fear failure, it's only a stepping stone to your final destiny. That 'What if...?' in the back of your head will only get bigger if you entertain it. Smack it now, while it's still small enough to hit with a fly swatter."


**Not the usual blog from the Polar Bear, I know, just something I've been thinking about for a few days.


  1. I love it. Great uses of simile. :)

  2. Well, thank you, unknown. I paid a lot of money for those similes.

  3. Ben, what a talent you have for writing. I have enjoyed all that I have read so far. A look at your life with your dad. PRICELESS!