Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Toughest Thing,,,

I've trained for and ran a half marathon... endured racial discrimination school experiences... other-mothered my youngest sister... been a latch-key child... been stood up in Montreal... had surgery and treatment for thyroid cancer... founded and organized a touring film festival across Canada (still my greatest achievement)... funded my own graduate studies (my third degree)... worked full-time while attending class four nights a week, but I still think the toughest thing that I have ever done in my life to date is teach. This year, I learned that my seniority level is ten years. Ten years? I was shocked to learn that I hit this milestone. I was impressed with my persistence and endurance. I was amazed that I lasted this long in the profession. There were so many times when I wanted to quit, could have quit, did quit, however something keeps pulling me back into the classroom something magical, creative, and heartfelt. Something has me devoting my spending on courses, workshops, and materials for my classroom, staying up all night, seeing the possibilities in my students, bureaucracy, mandatory and new initiatives and reforms, the political climate, the parents, the administration, the children... creating and re-creating and innovating and changing. It's not that I did not consider other careers or fields, well into my adulthood years. I considered everything from journalism to medicine to public relations to music therapy to social work to holistic health to naturopathic medecine to acting to policing to counselling to psychology. And no matter how many "information interviews", job shadowing, and volunteer experiences I have had, I keep coming back to teaching and education. I experience an inexplicable joy when I teach and it works. The possibility of successes helps me to overlook the difficult stuff. In teaching, I can be artistic and creative, help people, and share what I am passionate about. So yesterday was National Teacher's Day in the United States and the day before, it was National Teacher's Day on May 6. (In Canada, we celebrate this day on October 5.) I recently watched a TED Talk by educator and veteran Rita Pierson who has taught for forty years. Dr. Pierson is vibrant and funny and speaks on the importance of a caring adult for a child. It is a reminder to me of the importance and value of what I do.

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