“I’ve got to what?” I think quietly to myself.
A stark reality hits me. I’ve got to prove that I’m an effective writer to my possible future employer.
“If we are going to hire a writing teacher, we want to make sure she can write,” stated the principal in a matter of fact matter.
I smile and state, “Yes, absolutely.”
I sit and read the prompt, which is a vague sort of question about my views on education. I begin to panic a bit. “How can I be creative with this and still get my point across.”
Then, I glance at my writing portfolio.
“Aha! Poetry is the key. Langston Hughes will save me!”
Tonight, a few years later, this moment popped back in my mind, and I know why. The essay I wrote that day compared the teacher’s journey to the poem, “Hold Fast to Dreams”…..
Hold Fast to Dreams (The dream to teach and make a difference in the lives of children that she serves.)
For if dreams die, Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly. (In time, a teacher can become discouraged, and although still trying to fly she hobbles around hoping…hoping..for change and a chance to fly again.
Hold Fast to Dreams (The dream to become the teacher, leader, and mentor she envisioned from her first days in the classroom).
For when dreams go, Life is a barren field. Frozen with snow. (In sorrow, in stress, in government mandates and pressures, the teacher steadily falls into a deeper decline until she loses all passion and just shows up to work, hoping to hold on for just one…more…year until her blessed retirement.)
I’m paraphrasing my original message here, and when I wrote the words above I had only spent a few months in a classroom myself as a student teacher.
However, I knew this to be true because I grew up with teachers. I sat after-school for years with my mother. I heard endless stories from my extended family many of whom are educators on the woes of education. Also, the good, but a strong dose of the bad.
All I can think tonight is, despite of the negative media and hype, the problems have always been here.
What’s the solution?
As educators, young, old and in between; we all have a choice.
We can decide to teach with all our might, do what’s best for kids, and just have fun….or we can be miserable, cranky, and choose to drag others down with us.
Again…there’s nothing new under the sun.
Therefore, I urge other vigilant educators to choose to live the dream; the dream of educating with bright enthusiasm and joy for each and every child that enters through our doors.
In the end, what have we got to lose?