I absolutely love my job. I feel blessed and excited to come to 'work' each day. I try and do my best each and everyday to reach out to my students, to provide them with opportunity to grow, take chances, problem solve, deal with frustration, and ask for help. Most days I go home feeling like my day was worth something, that I made some kind of small difference.......
I sit and wonder and wish for all the classes I could take to challenge my thinking - or the conferences I could go to for inspiration and new skills -- and then I look at the cost. I really hate the fact that I haven't taken any graduate classes or gone to any type of conference and my only excuse is that I can't afford it. I am putting less money in my pocket today than when I started teaching 4 years ago - granted my income says I am making more, but less is making it to me. bah! I digress - money is not the real focus of this post.
I hunger to be a better teacher, to embrace the exuberance of my students - to move them in such ways that they think more in depth and make choices with purpose. I want to be the teacher that my high school Humanities teacher was to me. He was passionate, he questioned us, he asked us to think instead of being told what to think.
I want to be more than 'just' an art teacher to my students. I want to be someone that opened their eyes to a world they didn't see before. I want to give them enough courage to take chances and ask questions.
Perhaps I am doing some of these things - on a smaller scale maybe. I have such high hopes and dreams for my students - for my art program. I know my room makes a difference for students, but I want art (and music) to be more than a "special" - to be valued more than a prep time for grade level teachers.
What I really want is to reform education in a way that is drastic and beautiful. I want to change the whole way our nation thinks about education. I want kids to love school. I want teachers that have teaching in their blood - that are crazy passionate about not only their students, but teaching them. I want an education system that celebrates the diversity of our students and our teachers - instead of punishing/rewarding on standardized tests. I want an education system that rewards innovation and creativity - and terminates teachers that do the bare minimum.
I dream of a time when people who are making choices about education actually listen to the teachers -- not to the union reps or to the teachers who yell the loudest -- but to teachers, the humble, the eager, the devoted. I dream of a time when we fixed education by looking where we want to go instead of trying to fix a broken system.
I say and dream all these things - I know what I want it to look like in the end, but I currently have no idea how to get there. I can see the future, and it looks so bright -- yet I have no idea how to get there, let alone how to convince other people it will work.
I feel the need to stretch my teaching, to be more than who I am now. Perhaps some books, save some money for some interesting classes....... dive more into my dream of education and figure out a path.