"A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in the bank...but the world may be a better place because I made a difference in the life of a child." -- Forest Witcraft
Last night was the wedding of a colleague. She was one of the very first people I met when I moved to town for the teaching job. Even with the age difference, we were beginning teachers together. A special bond between the two of us. Two schools, six years, lots of children, laughter, struggles, growth and lessons later.
From the time I really knew N she was talking about, planning her wedding. Certainly worth it. What a lovely evening. Lots of fun, just like N. Ceremony brought a tear to her groom's eye. Dancing breaks into near craziness as she breaks tradition with her step father and dances like only N can. What fun. She even changed into a different dress to dance with reckless abandon.
Fun to spend an evening with colleagues and friends. Teaching friends over the years filled about 4 tables, catching up with people moved to different schools, paths going different directions. Laughing, dancing, silly pictures in a photo booth. Good times had by all.
Aside from the wedding, it was a time to reflect for me. Nothing new for me to reflect at a wedding. But this was different. This time I was reflecting on the progress I've made as a teacher these years. Two of the guests were the two principals from the boys and girls academies. The two principals that took a chance on me as a beginning teacher in an urban setting in a start up program. Me, the rather prim single mom from rural Indiana, moving into an environment I couldn't even imagine.
In a moment that I found myself alone with both S and D, I told them how meaningful it was for me to see them together. To have a chance to thank them for taking that chance on me those years ago. To let them know that I am grateful for the teacher I am because of their influence. To let them know that I've grown so much since the time I worked for them. Tears came to D's eyes as she said that's what being a life-long learner is all about. S said that one of the things he appreciated most about me as a teacher is my willingness to take constructive criticism, to take that and actually make the changes, not to act as though I knew more than he did. I told them both I wish they could see me teach now and see how much I've grown, so much as a result of what I learned by working with them. As S said, "You never know. It might happen someday." We briefly discussed the difficulties of public school these days, how politicians think they know how to run schools, the uncertainty of the future for all of us.
The one thing I do know is that I am in the right place as a teacher. And that as much as I've learned these past years professionally, I look forward to all that I will continue to learn in the future.
So as N and B start their newly married life together; new adventures, experiences, difficult and good times together, I look forward to continuing my journey as a teacher.