Portrait of a Teacher

Around the corner of the building at SJSU this morning comes a pair of legs with two strong hands clasped around a stack of boxes. It looks like a homemade robot as it lurches to a halt round the turn.  A large backpack, a coffee and a bag dangle from arms and a hand. Boxes of medium and small-size fit loosely together, and are piled up above the face.  But I recognize the hair.  Immediately, I unzip my camera case and pull for the lens cap,

But, no, an assistant rushes over to help the box lady.

“Don’t help her!” I urge, getting closer and focusing.  “Hey, step back!”

But he’s a good man who ignores me completely and helps Ms. J. by taking half the load.  There’s her smiling face, so, as they head upstairs, I walk along side, admitting my human depravity.  “Hey, that was a portrait!  It was teacher. Yes, I’m bad. I cared more for an image in that moment, than for helping a fellow human being.”

She shrugs and takes the stairs to ready for Power & Poetry, her class at SJAWP Writing Workshop.

I’m still seeing her arrival. Boxes. A pile almost as tall as she is.  Prep for today’s discovery and deep thinking for her class.  It’s a portrait in my mind.

Here’s a drawing of her I made later.

Published by River Brown

Grant Writer with the San José Area Writing Project, B.A. Serigraphy, San José State University, M.A. Ed, Teaching & Learning, National Hispanic University, San Jose, Ca, Retired Intervention Specialist.

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