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Comeback Kid


I'd like to think that I'm a comeback kid. Although in fact I am just (always) a newcomer, making a comeback looks and sounds more dramatic than being a newbie.

I keep on talking about how the philosopher is a perpetual beginner. (Perhaps when you're beginning again that's the only thing you can talk about: nothing has been seen, nothing else is known, nothing is settled). While beginning again has its own merits because everything is new, making a comeback, even if it returns to what is old, can also be quite a ride. Well, at least for the man of eternal return.

Because for most people, he who returns could easily have not gone away to begin with; no one notices such things. While it may be a good piece of conversation (where have you been? or what happened?), we all as easily forget as we hardly remember. No one is indispensable, my mother, a businesswoman, says. And while a familiar face which crosses our dull gaze may once in a while grab our attention--hey, it's you--we just as quickly go on with our own business, with our own lives. That is why he who returns should never expect anything. Just do your own business.


I had been away from the platform and the blackboard for about two years before last week; and whereas I thought I needed some reintroduction to it (spacing, movement, timing, etc.), it felt like I never left it at all or that I just had a very long (eventful) weekend.

Returning to class is easier on me because it is returning to something almost absolutely new new--new school, new students--and something absolutely old--old lessons, old shoes. Yes: the otherwise impossible profession of teaching is made lighter because of its ability to reinvigorate itself every year, every semester, every week, every day, or even moment of it. Every word you speak or every insight you learn from students is at each time new: it couldn't have happened at any other time, in any other place, with any other student. And because everything can be new, then nothing is really repeated--no matter how many classes you may have.

Students, in their innocence, are most forgiving. They always give you a chance--to speak and be heard, or to simply do your job. Never mind that they may end up not liking you or even hating you--like how lovers who once gave each other the chance to love may end up leaving and even hating each other. Never mind that at all.

Because remember that to begin with students in their innocence gave you a chance to come back even without them knowing it. They gave you a chance to make it or mess it all up--like a beloved who gave you the chance to love and, who knows, be loved in return.



  1. maybe you're born to be a teacher. it almost doesn't require much effort when you're doing what you like best. welcome to the club (=


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