Today was a school holiday and I was able to watch the Inauguration in real-time. I watched because I love this country and our capital city. I watched because I feel that it is the right thing to do as a citizen. I watched because God needed me to listen.
What I found was my future. In the few moments that it took Kelly Clarkson to sing a beautifulrendition of My Country Tis of Thee, it was suddenly clear. As I watched the flags wave, I remembered a summer quite a few years ago when I worked on a special project at the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). I left with clarity, a clarity I lost but found again today. My Mission Statement for a lack of better term for who I am and who I will become. Today, I take a great risk. I am sharing it with you.
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I am a teacher. I am destined for leadership. I believe in this country and all it can and will be. I have unique talents, gifts and insights that can lead others to a reality that we can only hope for at this moment.
I have a passion for teaching students that have significant and intellectual disabilities. I am drawn for so many reasons. Their courage; but also, what they represent to the education of all children. You see, teaching those who appear to be the most "un-teachable" or most “challenging” is a testament not only to who we are as a society but what is truly possible. After all, if the child you think can not learn, does, then imagine what will be achieved by the child you think is brilliant. If a method of teaching or curriculum works with the child that others feel will be a “burden to society” their entire lives, imagine what the child you think is our next great mind could be become. And yet, imagining that future is almost impossible as it takes so many of us outside the limits of what we believe humans could ever do no matter the circumstances. I however, do believe in that vision. I can see it in my heart and know that it is a reality, not a dream. A reality we simply haven’t yet reached. I will be a catalyst to reaching it. I do have leadership within me.
This week I was asked what I am called to do that “requires passion, vision, hard work, proverbial wisdom, and sacrificial love.” My first reaction was teaching. Then I questioned it. Did I say teaching simply because it was what occupied most of my day? Was I called to it? Maybe I am just not enough.
I was wrong, I was listening to others judgment not my heart. The inauguration for all its pageantry and beauty reminded me that teaching is my passion. But a larger class than I had considered. My passion reaches far beyond teaching my class. It is about teaching by example, by words, by hope.
I am called to teach with passion, vision, hard work, proverbial wisdom, and sacrificial love? YES! But, for the first time, I realize, that the teaching I am being called to, is the teaching of our society. I will be a leader.
No, I am a leader. I just took my first step.