Aloha Shirt Man Thanks the Students Who Made His School Psychology Career a Gift

Facing Teaching in Delaware County, Indiana, Teaching

By Michael Brockley 

In the beginning, I showed you how to scramble blocks. Now at the end, we amaze ourselves with all the shades of red between burgundy and maroon.

I always asked what you liked to do for fun. You’d say search for arrowheads in the fields your father plowed. Or maybe ride your bike or play The Oregon Trail. When you picked practicing multiplication, I told you how I cheated on times tests during my St. Gabriel’s years, until my mother caught me counting on my fingers. I remember your social studies class on the day your teacher forgot Indonesia was an island and the time you taught a substitute the difference between “lightening” and “lightning.”

The relief of holding less when faced with nature’s awe. You wore green t-shirts with “Pink” scripted on the front or sports jerseys with either 18 or 23 silkscreened across the back. I read your recipe for making a peanut butter sandwich, then helped you read The Grapes of Wrath in high school. I saluted your graduation from Legos to Minecraft to the go-carts and twelve-strings you designed the year you wore a homecoming crown.

As the school year neared its close, I marveled at the superhero shirts folded atop the Lost and Found table. At the silver batons and Colts jackets. At an unmatched dusty shoe. On my last day, I watched you haul Cat In the Hat kites to waiting cars. Each of you a knight or princess who will become the lightening and lightning for all the lives before me.


Michael Brockley is a 68-year old retired school psychologist. He still works part-time in rural northeast Indiana. He has had poems in several Muncie Facing Project publications and will have other poems appearing soon in 3Elements Review, Tattoo Highway and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan.

This story originally appeared in Facing Teaching, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

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