by Ron Hayes
Change is and will always be an immutable constant in my life. As a teacher in an inner-city high school, I have no choice but to accept change as inexorable. I can fight it (as my inner nature so desperately wants to) or I can roll with it. Adapt and overcome. Given the ridiculous number of windmills at which I tilt every day, setting my sights on change as yet another target is more than pure folly—it’s dangerous. So I roll with it.
I’ve learned that accepting change is more than just liberating: it’s cathartic, like bleeding an infected wound. Where fighting change once seemed natural, holding things in, holding them back runs the risk of causing more damage than good. Took me a while to get that. For the longest time I wanted to keep my students, fixing the broken, smoothing their rough edges, honing to perfection their little minds and intellects. But I can’t. Never could, of course.
Ten years into teaching, change to me is no longer something to dread and fear, but a tool I use to remind me of the fleeting nature of life. The transience of the faces I meet, learn, love, and lose each year shows me what I work for, what I hope to accomplish, and what’s at stake both as a teacher and a writer. Change allows me to see that what I do links us to both the future and the past. What more could a writer ask for?
Ron Hayes writes fiction and poetry when he isn’t teaching history, coaching varsity football or girls’ basketball, or watching his son play lacrosse. He recently served two terms as Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania, and later this year his first short story publication, longlisted in the Nivalis Short Story contest, will appear in an anthology of short fiction from Fabula Press.