“Here is the ultimate irony of the divided life: live behind a wall long enough, and the true self you tried to hide from the world disappears from your own view! The wall itself and the world outside it become all that you know. Eventually, you forget that the wall is there and that hidden behind it is something called you.”
–Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness
I struggle with other’s complacency in my field at times.
An expired phrase from over a half-century ago for those pursuing an education degree was “those who can’t, teach,” meaning those who lacked the skills to become pros in the real world hung up their pipedreams in the classroom. With these types of stereotypes, the field of education presumably received a ‘bad wrap’ with an underappreciated paycheck as those who were unable to make the cut took the hit to their ego, a lower income, and kept quiet. Being a 21st century educator, where excitement abounds for yet another political platform with neon signs pointing to education reform, the tides of change are as slow as molasses. When you demand high achieving results from a product, you begin by attracting the brightest people with higher pay to run the business. However, being bright is not enough in our field, and sadly, our government is slow to realize dollar signs may actually change the subscribed psyche and lure to education as a profession.
As I rise daily with an eager heart and head to school, I struggle knowing there are educators who do not love what they do, or fully appreciate what great power may be within their grasp by having the privilege to teach a child on a daily basis. Our life’s work is to shape and change lives – how exciting!
My story is quite simple: I listened. Prior to my junior year in high school, I asked God what He wanted for me in this life, and his answer was thunderously clear. “You will teach music!” With such a loud response, I nearly jumped from my bed, but after the initial shock and an “okay” resonated on my end, I was grinning from ear to ear. My life had purpose and meaning, and I knew exactly what I might have the potential to do in this world. I was one of the lucky ones.
Sadly, education is not a calling for all teachers. It is a paycheck, and that concept breaks my heart and overwhelms me at times. To that end, I continue to struggle with how many educators take their exact place in time for granted. What if you nurtured the one student who needed your class to become a better student overall? What if they were inspired by your compassion and chose to help others through their life’s work? What if you were the one who smiled, asked them how their day was, or even saved their life that day because you cared? I’m grateful to say I’ve been that person for a child. I’m grateful to wake up and make a difference with music as my vehicle.
“As a teacher and mentor, I am committed to the possibility of nurturing the heart and soul of humanity of the young artists, and empowering their lifelong contribution to the global community as artists, healers, and loving human beings.”
-Lorin Hollander, Teaching Musicians
Wake up invigorated my educator friends, for YOU ARE the lucky ones now! Those who CAN, teach! Your life has a purpose, meaning, and your mission is simple. Inspire loving human beings… that’s all there is.