We have been discussing resiliency in class the last several days. Today, we read a poem by Maya Angelou (“Still I Rise”) and then one by a fellow teacher’s student. There is one line that keeps ringing in my head from that second poem, and I think it speaks to me because I often feel it is me. I have used this blog to speak purely from a professional standpoint up until this point, but because my profession is so much of who I am, it’s inevitable that my emotions and life experiences will bleed through. (I’m sure you’re wondering what that line is, but I feel like I need to give a tiny bit of backstory first. Sorry, reader[s].)
Today I am feeling rather reflective. Now, I generally feel that way everyday, but particularly so today. Tomorrow is the very last day of my formal education. (I had to pause after writing that for a moment for the physical reaction.) I cannot say that I haven’t been counting the hours until the occurrence of this day. In all honesty, I am truly excited at the prospect of having time to do things I haven’t in a long time. However, tomorrow is the demarcation of something significant. Tomorrow, my life changes. I will no longer define myself as a student. I will no longer schedule my life around class, homework, and study sessions. And I may actually get to see my children and husband this summer. Novel idea, that.
The truth is, my marriage will be redefined by this change. I started school in 2005, right before Toby and I were married. He has spent the last 5-6 years rearranging his life to meet my school needs. Now we are faced with relearning how to interact and structure our life together. It scares me a bit, but I’m confident that this will deepen our relationship. But, I digress.
Back to the line. And the title for this blog. Resiliency. To be resilient is to bounce back when life hands you something unexpected. When I began this journey, this road to becoming an educator, I started with what I knew. I wanted to teach high school choir. I began at PLU in the Music Ed program, but learned after a year and a half of killing myself with rehearsal, ear training, lessons, and about a zillion classes a day (not to mention 12 hours a day away from home) that I was not cut out for it. And it wasn’t even my realization! It was a professor’s. And although that day was a humbling one, I was resilient. I asked myself, “now what?” I knew that the common thread was that I wanted to teach something. So, I made the next logical jump to English Literature. It’s been downhill from there, honestly. Once I found the right road, everything sped up, including time.
Most of my resiliency, though, has been personal. I have never done anything the easy way. I have made poor choices in life, and because of those, have set myself back from my goals. And I feel that listening to certain people in my life has contributed to the setback as well. But I have always managed to bounce back. And this is where that line comes in.
The student wrote, “No one to follow so now I am a leader.”
In my life, I have never been a follower. That’s not always been a good thing. I’m headstrong and impetuous and I do stupid things. Also, I am the first in my family to obtain a college education. My father, though he wanted to be a history teacher, spent his life working in a blue collar job because it was never the right time. I refused to be that person. And so, there is no one for me to follow. So now I am a leader. A teacher. Amazing to think about, really.
So tomorrow is an end. And it’s a beginning. And I am now at that crossroads of where to go next. Except this time, I have options. That’s never happened before, and instead of being scared out of my mind, I’m anxiously awaiting the changes I have been waiting six years for.
Here’s to that first step.