Yeah… so I haven’t blogged in… a bit…
There is probably a reason for that, but I am not going to delve too deeply into that particular subject. It would maybe just get a little messy and end up with me being lazy or bad at planning or something like that. Which is why I’m not delving.
Anway… Today I had this awful realization that it was a new month. That normally might not be such bad news, but as a teacher it just means one thing—new monthly bulletin board. Seems like a small thing, right? Wrong-o. I’m telling you, staple removers are a lot more difficult than you might think! Especially when you have these little edges of the board that you have to work around. It is seriously a skill. And I have not developed that particular skill yet.
Staples might not be my thing, but if I do say so myself, I did do a pretty decent job at sweet-talking some of the after-school custodial staff into helping me find an X-acto knife! I just threw in a few, “I’m so sorry to be such an inconvenience” whilst batting my eyelashes and it worked out pretty well. The knife certainly did help, but there were still some tough decorative decisions to be made like, “Should I go with the witch picture or Frankenstein?” or “How many bats should I place?”
After getting the bulletin board all ready to go, I looked around the room and noticed tha the desks needed straightening, the floor had some spots etc. So I basically just ended up cleaning my classroom.
Now, I might be pretty good with the custodial staff, but I still haven’t mastered the whole “making friends with birds and other woodland creatures who then help me with my cleaning projects” thing. So I basically just had some good, quality thinking time. These days I feel like most of my thinking is centered on “How can I teach this effectively” or “How can I teach this so my students won’t hate it.” But I guess maybe I was a little planned out and instead I just was thinking about my life. Cue the Gaston voice saying, “Soon she’ll be getting ideas… and thinking!”
Maybe the fact that I was decorating bulletin boards made me contemplate my life and previous life decisions that brought me to this point… just kidding… mostly…
Let’s be real, the whole “bulletin board” thing was definitely not something I feel like I was adequately prepared for with that college education... Yeah, so I was all contemplating my life and some life decisions I have to make and stuff and, as usually happens when I’m thinking about things in life, a song from a musical came to mind.
Not just any musical, but Wicked. Glinda is engaged to Fiyero and is in the Wizard’s little club and everything is going super well (at least on paper) and she sings, “That’s why I couldn’t be happier. No, I couldn’t be happier. Though it is, I admit, the tiniest bit, unlike I anticipated… ‘Cause getting your dreams, it’s strange but it seems a little, well, complicated…”
As I sat there thinking about my life, I couldn’t help but think that there was something true about her words.
When I was a freshman I first encountered the Teach for America program and I was very intrigued by the whole thing. There was something about their mission and their goals that resonated with me and I wanted to be a part of that change they were seeking, or “being that change I wish to see in the world,” Gandhi style.
After my mission it was still an idea, or a dream, or something I couldn’t just let go of, so I gave it a shot. The interviewing process was an interesting one, because I still felt completely aligned with their goals, but at the same time I recognized that I could accomplish the same thing wherever I taught. I realized that I didn’t necessarily need their organization to fight for opportunities for every student. But I was still compelled by the TFA group.
When I found out I not only got accepted, but that I got placed in Boston, I felt like that was too perfect. I already loved England so much, of course I would love New England!! I could just picture myself having a Boston tea party with my students as we read “Johnny Tremain” and other such stuff. #historyandenglisharemylovesinlife #dontforgetshakespeare
And let’s be real- they have cobblestone streets. Need I say more?
But then, as I think of the magic of Boston, I also think of the magic of Sunday afternoons at home. The magic of weddings and birthday parties and baby blessings and family events—those do get harder with the distance.
I think of the magic of the job I have now. The magic of great colleagues—colleagues who are my friends and mentors. I think of the life that my students bring and the thrill when so-and-so turns in a beautiful essay or such-and-such-person makes a brilliant comment in class. Can I just walk away from all of that?
Glinda was right (formerly Galinda, of course). Things get a little complicated sometimes!
But luckily, there are other musicals to shed a little light on the subject. And this one is even based on the Bible, so it is, like, even more legit. In the opening of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the narrator (pronounced with British accent- my students have quickly learned that I insist on saying that word with the accent every time) sings, “Some folks dream of the wonders they’ll do before their time on this planet is through, some folks don’t have anything planned. They hide their hopes and their heads in the sand…We all dream a lot. Some are lucky, some are not. But if you think it, want it, dream it, then it’s real…”
And then, you know, she goes on to tell the story of Joseph. Joseph has got to be one of the most awesome people in the Old Testament (I would dare even say bible, but I don’t want to start any controversies). I still love Joshua. But Joseph is great too. Both favorites.
Joseph is the prime example of someone with complicated dreams! Get it? Get it? Cuz he, like, had dreams that were prophetic and stuff?! Moving on…
So, Joseph literally had complicated dreams, but more importantly, he knew what he was about. He had this vision of his end goal and what he was supposed to become and he went for it. And things did not seem to be going his way at all. But that didn’t stop him. He just kept the faith and kept at it. He took all those lemons and had some lemonade, and probably some nice lemon meringue pie as well. He wasn’t too worried, even when he was singing “Close every door to me” he followed that up with “Children of Israel are never alone.. .for I know I shall find my own peace of mind…”
He had this positivity and this faith that helped him make every dream come true, even when it wasn’t looking very likely.
Recently I have been a little tempted to think about the fact that dreams can sometimes be a little complicated. But, I am also going to try to remember that the complications are what help us actually achieve the end goal we want. Sometimes I get so caught up in the details, the jobs, the short-term, that I lose sight of the fact that in the long-term, my goal is more about who I am than what I am.
Butcher, baker, candlestick maker. It makes no difference. My dreams aren’t about positions or places, but rather, about the person I want to become. The positions and places are just steps in the process of becoming. Even sometimes a misplaced step, maybe even on a cobblestone road, could help me more in the process of becoming than a solid step on a well-known city road would…. That remains to be seen…
But, for now, I’m just going to keep dreaming my dreams. I’m not going to worry too much about those complications. After all, “Any dream will do” and “I couldn’t be happier” because dreams come true and “with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Ps- I am so pumped up for Conference!!!