Each semester I am blessed with a diverse group of students yearning for education and inspiration, wanting to be mentored and nurtured. A few inevitably are undisciplined and unfocused, participating little, performing even less and hoping they will blend into the background. I can also count on a rock star or two who shines so much brighter and faster than their classmates they eclipse all expectations. Then there are those who linger somewhere in the middle, searching, seeking, often insecure in their talent. These students are the WHY of why I teach. These are the students who care, but whose observation skills and maturity have not yet caught up to their expectation and passion. These are the students on the precipice of understanding how they fit in. These are the students who need a firm, yet nurturing push in the direction of their dreams. These are the students who are receptive to learn that through exploration, small successes and sometimes bigger failures they will become accountable, responsibility and uncompromising with their talent.
Today concluded another semester and I am happy to report that although the past couple weeks shoved some challenging situations in my face, I couldn’t be prouder of how everything wrapped up. I spent nearly 30 hours grading the final assignments and writing a summary to each and every student sharing my observations of their experience in class. Some were receptive to my last bit of insight, others left the room without a comment. But it’s those few students who typically stick around until the end whom I am most excited to speak with. One in particular asked me to explain in more depth a comment I made about choosing to surround himself with colleagues and friends who raise him up rather than drag him down. I reminded him of the obligation we all have to ourselves to never compromise out values for the sake of another and to separate ourselves from any situation or friendship that gets in the way of that. I would offer the same insight to anyone, friend or for. For this particular student, he confessed it was the right message, at the right time, for the right reasons.
I also made my own commitment today, a gift to myself by the means of pen and paper. I often have a really difficult time articulating what I want. It’s as if I say only one thing it will exclude the possibility for another. Today when the words hit me, it was so easy, so simple, so stunningly clear. May I never forget why, after all this time, these words decided to show up today.
I will live a life of presence, patience and possibility and refuse to pay attention to pretense, petulance and predictability.