I Am a Teacher


The other day in my high school creative writing class we were talking about identity. I told my students that our identities are often determined by our place in society. I asked them to consider this when developing characters for their fictional stories. I shared with my students that I had worn many hats over the years. I revealed that I had once been the night manager of a fast food restaurant in high school, that I had once been a painter of antiques cars right after my own high school graduation, that I had once spent time loading and unloading big brown trucks before eventually driving one of them for a few years. In that moment I realized something that I had never considered before. If anyone were to ask me today what I have done during the last 40 years or so of my professional life I would answer in this way: I have managed a restaurant, I have painted old cars, I have loaded and unloaded semi trailers, I have driven a big brown delivery and now I am a teacher. I don’t say: I teach literature analysis or I teach character development, or I teach young people. I say, when asked, I am a teacher. It’s simply who I am… who we are. I am not a boogeyman who gets summers off. I am a teacher.

Rodger Wilming lives in Davenport and has worked at Bettendorf High School for 20 years.
He is a teacher, builder of guitars, and collector of all things interesting.