Last night, I had the honor of speaking at the Part-time Faculty Appreciation Dinner. The event was hosted by the CTLE and was a wonderful opportunity for adjuncts to network and to “talk shop.” Here is a copy of the speech I delivered.
By: Amye Archer
In second grade, Bobby Lewis caused our teacher to have a nervous breakdown. I was nine and her screams sounded like a siren in the dead of night. The girls in the class cried as the Principal paddled Bobby in front of us. I can’t remember what Bobby said that set her off, or what triggered her spontaneous madness.
In fourth grade, unable to stop me from talking, my teacher picked up my desk, dumped its contents on the floor in front of me, and threw the empty desk across the room. My father grounded me for a month. I have no memory of to whom I was speaking or what was so important that it just couldn’t wait.
In seventh grade, Jenna Beckwith and I walked once or twice a week to the small store across the street from our middle school and purchased a pack of Marlboro Reds for our social studies teacher. He sent the boys for booze, the girls for smokes. I can’t remember how he managed to pull this off. I can’t even remember his name.
In ninth grade, we learned we could leave at lunch and not return, explaining our absence the next day to our young, green, vice-principal by saying we had “female troubles.” I don’t know why we needed the extra time, who discovered this loophole, or how many times we used it.
During my senior year of high school, I was lost. I had transferred out of public schools and had been at Bishop Hannan for two years. I didn’t fit in. I wrote poetry, listened to John Lennon, and read Bukowski. I watched around me as my classmates, nestled warmly in the comfort of a better pedigree, walked forward into their future like the road had been paved for decades. Like they had the map of their life tattooed on the backs of their hands. I couldn’t commit to a college, I couldn’t commit to a path. But the clock was ticking and the forest thickened around me. The irony that I was a poet standing at two roads diverged was not lost on me.
Then, I met Anne Langan, my senior-year English teacher. Her classroom was number 214, at the end of the second floor hallway. At Hannon, we operated on semesters, so it wasn’t until the dead of winter that I first walked into her classroom. Over the course of a few weeks, we had the chance to do some creative writing. I wrote some poems, some short stories, and of course, lengthy papers on the role of women in Macbeth. Then, about halfway through the year, we were asked to write our own myth, in the tradition of the Greeks. I eagerly wrote mine after school. I think it took me an hour.