One night a few years ago, I posted my rambling thoughts on Facebook, wondering if I still belonged in the classroom, or was I ready to take on a new challenge in my life. The next morning, I had the most heartwarming reminder waiting in my email inbox from a former student:
No matter what you decide or where you go, you’ll always be an important piece of anyone who walks through your door. It’s never too late to start an adventure, and I personally have found that adventure seldom resides in the comfort zone. The only constant in our world is change, good or bad. How we adapt to this is the true measure of who we are. This may or may not apply in this situation, but I once read “advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer…
Carpe the f-ing Diem Mrs. The Tempered Teacher (pardon my censored French). You’re an educated and very intelligent woman; whatever path you choose in life will be the right path, simply because you’re behind it. “Always be yourself, because everybody else is already taken.
Everyone’s wave of life will hold different crests and troughs. These forks in the road are set at different wavelengths for everyone, with varying amplitude. But every wave uses energy, and if it’s used efficiently, your wave can have a great effect. Bad waves disrupt; good waves harmonize. Some hold information, some are tools of destruction, and some are used to paint the beautiful picture we see every day when we open our eyes. I hope your wave is one transferred by many mediums, because not only does it hold mountains of knowledge; it also adds extravagant color to the blank canvas that many young people are carrying when they sit down in that desk.
…sometimes you meet someone (a coach, a peer, a neighbor, the mailman, the guy in line at the store, a teacher) that reminds you a difference can be made through the administration of tough love, blunt realism, great character, copious amounts of laughter, big cups of coffee, and an even bigger heart. Faith in humanity is restored.
The world we live in makes it a challenge to ask yourself certain questions that can’t be answered with rulers, calculators, marbles, weights, fun toy cars, and photogates; but I know you’ve been given the mental capacity to think not only outside of the box, but also inside the “heart box”, more appropriately the pericardium. Believe it or not, “Am I where I want to be?” and “Am I where I need to be?” are the easy ones.
When you find some time out of your busy day, perhaps during another late night contemplation, ask yourself:
- “Do I harmonize with the waves of the young men and women as they grow?”
- “Am I watering the seeds of knowledge I have given them, as well as expanding my own garden?”
- “Have I instilled myself in their mind, heart, and soul?”
- “Do I only go where I take myself?”
I can say with certainty, you will survive your physical self in countless vessels carried by a generation containing many souls struggling to find themselves. You are taken places far beyond where you take yourself; I personally never leave home without you. I often find myself with the unique bit of knowledge pertinent to the situation, whether it be science related or not, and backtrack to find you at the source.
I can’t begin to imagine the number of lives you’ve changed in total. You might find it odd or even slightly ridiculous to find that someone who was, by an uninformed population, labeled to be “intelligent”, “self-sufficient”, “emotionally stable”, “popular”, and dare I say “happy with life”, could be writing something like this.
I had learned intellectually valuable material in your teachings, and could reproduce formulas and theorems left and right. Until the connection between us was strengthened to such a great degree though, I had only taken your teaching to brain, and not to heart. Do the literal lessons we covered pop up in my life regularly? Not often, but you gave me more than that. The level of interaction between you and students, the attitude you present to the room, your brilliant personality, the manner in which you present material, and the dominant but friendly position you give yourself all work together seamlessly. A “normal” teacher may disagree with one, some, or maybe all of your methods. “Normal” teachers don’t synchronize with the classroom to make the most of the limited time they have with a young person, not realizing that sometimes, a little time is all you need to make a huge difference.
Sometimes, a person can be given a sturdy foundation, blueprints, tools, and the knowledge to use them all (or so I would like to believe). However, without a science lesson about the basic components of a wave, they may never hold the desire to construct a life in the interest of finding their natural frequency. Does the book teach the lesson? Maybe the lab? Tiny words stuck in a big fancy binding hold no value without an incredible individual to incorporate a life lesson.
Did all of this come from an hour-long lesson about waves? Of course it didn’t. It’s the sum of things: the positive attitude, the unorthodox approaches that engage lateral and critical evaluations, the reinforcement, and the life lessons spread throughout, that allow us to incorporate the classroom education to the real world. These are the things that make anywhere a certain person goes the right place for them to be. People such as these are in short supply, and I am most fortunate to have my path linked to the path of one of these hidden wonders of the world. As any science book tells us, when waves meet, as consistent with people in life, they create interference. Indubitably …in the case of a small town teacher’s impact on a small town kid, with small town roots, small town fame, a small town lifestyle, and a big city attitude to match his big city dreams… it is, completely devoid of doubt, a constructive interference indeed.
(Shared with permission!)