Answering the Call
I want to continue the conversation about opportunity. I’m at a point when I have to weigh opportunities carefully and consider how I want to spend the rest of my life. I am already 47. If I plan my life out, I see myself in the school setting (as a teacher or administrator) for the next 20 years. While teaching and administrating, I’ll continue to develop my abilities as an adult trainer/educator, and spend another 10 years or so at the university level giving encouragement and wisdom to hundreds of young teachers. By 77 I want to stop, take a few breaths, and finish those couples of novels I’ve got in my head while sitting in the mountain cabin I’ve finally earned enough to purchase. Thanks to my career change to education, this picture is possible, even realistic. I have this opportunity, and I am grateful.
But enough about me, because I’m not thinking of my opportunities today. I am a parent of two adult children. The one who is getting all my attention today is Katie. She is 20 and attends American University in D.C. She is bright and adventurous and daring. She is leaving home tomorrow for a semester at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. I am so proud of her, and admittedly jealous of youth’s opportunities. I spent a year in Australia (in 1975!) and I know her life will be changed by her experiences.
My son Baxter also spent a semester abroad when he was in college. Both my kids attended good universities, thanks to financial aid and good academic records. My husband Stephen and I pushed our kids to be strong students willing to work for what they wanted. We tried to teach persistence and determination. We gave them a safe place to be, the materials they needed to get the job done, and emotional support of their innate abilities.
Huh. I’m thinking here. Let me go from my family picture to the big picture.
Opportunity arises, and you are either ready or you’re not. You’re ready if you have persistence and determination; backed by a safe place to start and return to, the materials you need, and emotional support for innate abilities. Add a sense of adventure and daring and you’ve got an individual ready to hear the call.
Whether we talk about my two children or all of our children, I hope we are giving all that is needed to answer opportunity’s call. Whether the opportunity is an AP class and the doors that test can open (see Emmet Rosenfeld’s blog Certifiable to get caught up on the fascinating discussion with Jay Matthews) or the chance to finally learn to read in 9th grade (imagine all the doors that have been closed thus far), we as teachers are standing with our hand on the doorknob asking “Will our students be ready to go?”
Just one more thing - a sense of humor helps, too. Katie’s airline tickets haven’t arrived yet. And I still have to deal with the whole issue of walking away when she gets on the plane….