Prompt: You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

This actually happened to me, in a way, while watching the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” with a friend. There we were, in a darkened theater, watching Will Smith shepherd his son around San Francisco from shelter to shelter, looking for job after job. I was supposed to be entertained and uplifted by the story, but instead I was panicked.

It could so easily be me.

My greatest fear is being unemployed and homeless. And I paid $7.50 to watch my fears play out on a big screen. How’s that for desensitization theory?

Except it didn’t desensitize me to my fears, it magnified my fears. And two years later when the economy tanked, that fear became so much closer to reality, and the truth is, public education is not the safe bet it used to be.

Most days, I shove that fear into the far corners of my mind.

Students often ask me why I’m such a rule follower. I tell them I follow rules because in so doing, I typically gain respect of supervisors, I become someone dependable. But I also follow rules in the interest of self-preservation. I just hope it one day doesn’t backfire on me.

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