Don’t get lost. Give it a try. Go find the place that you’re wishing for.
Three friends and I opened a book with this quote a couple of years ago and it summarises much of my thinking after 25 years as a teacher and teacher-educator. I’ve had the privilege of working with some fantastic aspiring teachers, and I include those who aspire to be better every day of their careers, and if I had one message it would be to be and keep becoming yourself. We should, in my opinion, always endeavour to be in state of becoming. We shouldn’t settle for where we are but should keep searching for the place we wish to be. Above all we shouldn’t aspire to be someone else. No clones here please.
One of the founding questions of most interviews is why. “Why do you want…?” When asked why they want to be a teacher many (in my experience) answer “because my PE teacher was a role model and I want to be just like them and inspire kids like they inspired me”. While this is a fantastic reflection on that particular practitioner, on their teacher, it’s not a mantra that I want any teacher to aspire to long term. I often say to the pre-service teachers I work with – and in true Austin Powers style – I don’t want any Mini Me’s. I say it to their mentors and cooperating teachers as well) I’m not looking to clone myself, or them or you. I don’t want an army of Ash’s in the workplace. The thought makes me shudder. I know my faults and they are many. I know I’ve let down people in the past and I want to move away from that teacher and that person. I want to find the place where I help everyone. I acknowledge that I seek a nirvana or utopia of sorts. One, probably, I can never find because it’s a place which changes, as I change, its grid reference on a regular basis. I also know I’ll never reach it by cloning myself or cloning others. I will only get there by staying true to my ambitions and my aspirations.
In conclusion. Don’t get lost. Give it a try. Go find the place you’re wishing for. Just be sanguine enough to know that you may never find it but should always keep trying.
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