On Teaching & Change

There is one-half day left of the school year. It would be cliche to say the first day feels like it was yesterday, but maybe that’s what a cliche is… something so overused because it’s accurate. On Saturday I attended Graduation and walked as an educator. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself in a position where I have the ability to influence such a wide range of people. Good, bad, and/or ugly.

There are only two things I’ve ever wanted to do with my life, and arguably I could narrow it to one. First and foremost, I’ve wanted to help people. Picture an invisible line where those who need help and those who don’t, stand apart, divided. I’ve stood on the darker side of that line. Where despair is thicker than air and rainbows only exist as forgotten myths. If you look inward, I think you’ll find you know that place too. You’ve left your initials carved into the walls of this place. It’s a place we’ve all been. Why? Because the world is not always kind. But here’s the thing, you can stand there and you can take a beating, or you can fight back. You can choose to become jaded — it is a choice. You can take out your issues on the world, pass on the metaphorical beating to the next person. Or, you can grow and be the kind of person you wish stood by your side. The kind of person you needed when you were down.

If there is one thing I hope to impart on my students this year, it’s to rise above and be the kind of person they need in the world. Be the friend that they don’t have. Be the person who puts a stop to bullying and drama. I hope they never sacrifice their own morals and beliefs to cater to anyone who was never going to like who they were in the first place. I hope they continue to challenge themselves and push the envelope. I hope I have taught them to learn. Even if they don’t remember the details, I hope they remember how to find the details.

The goodbyes have already started and I’ve been brought to tears every day this week. I knew it would be hard but I never suspected it would be this hard. That these young people would dig a hole in my heart and settle in for the long haul. I’ve never been good at goodbyes. I’m either too emotional, spilling tears or too rigid in avoidance of those same tears. I’ve cried half a dozen times today alone.

I didn’t expect to love this job so much.

I almost didn’t take it. There was an issue that nearly scared me out of saying yes. Something made me so afraid that I was almost willing to halt my life. Everything we do is a choice. I chose to stand up against fear and refuse to let it rule my life. We make these kinds of choices every single day. When we take control of our lives and actively make a choice to do something, even if it’s hard, there’s a kind of fulfillment in that. If instead thrust into the same decision against our will, the whole experience takes on grey tones.

I’m in a place of transition in my life. I have always fought against change. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in this life is that change is inevitable. Change is the only constant. And if I take change on with intent and a smile… If I let it be my choice, then I will always come out ahead.

I am moving on from teaching. I’ve loved this job and the experiences it provided me with. I will miss being able to help these young people learn and grow as humans. Maybe someday, I’ll have the opportunity to do it again. Wherever my next choice takes me, I hope that I am able to make just as much of an impact. Even if it’s only one person at a time.



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