I believe, as Noddings (2012) and Eisner (2002) do, that high school is a place for students to explore, to try things out, to be creative, to make mistakes, to fail, and try again. I believe that is what I have done in my life…I have tried many different things, followed paths that were perhaps unconventional yet fulfilling, switched course as my life unfolded, always seeking new horizons and new challenges. Anna, one of my critical friends, asked me why I became a teacher. I immediately responded “To make a difference.” But I realize it’s because I also want my life to matter. And I have discovered that it is the most creative and rewarding of my many career choices. As I write this, I am reminded of how it feels to go into the unknown, how I felt as I left my young daughter with her grandma for the summer so I could pursue my dream of becoming a teacher. My fear was almost paralyzing, the responsibility of being the decision-maker not just for me but for my sweet Abby was overwhelming, yet I went and here I am.
There is still so much for me to learn. I am reminded of paddling in an outrigger with the wind but then we change course and tack into the wind. It feels as if we are in a washing machine, being pulled back and forth by the waves and the wind. But the ama and the strength of the team keeps us afloat and we continue to make progress. This mirrors my experiences as an educator, the pulling back and forth between my beliefs and values and the shadows that are curriculum delivery and my fears aren’t going away. With the support of my team of thinkers, my peers, and my reflections, I can persevere.
I cannot see myself anywhere else, unless, perhaps, in a boat on the water still, quiet and at peace.