Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is my dream? Where does it come from?

“Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.” - Albert Einstein

The first thing I dream of is continuing to become a better and better educator. I’m considering going for the National Board Certification in the US. It would be a way to continue that journey and to challenge myself. I used to dream of great recognition in the field of education. And I suppose I still think that would be great; but I don’t seek it out or look for it anymore. Now I just DO things, like present at conferences, mentor new teachers, speak to colleagues about best practices. There’s no real “up the ladder” in education, so this is it; I just dream of doing it well.

My dream to be a teacher began when I was little. I first decided it would be great to be a gradeschool teacher when I was in first or second grade and other students would say things like, “You’re so smart. Can you help me?” I loved helping the other kids. Later in High School I had an art teacher say, “You should become an art teacher” and I thought I might. I even took pottery my freshman year in college because of my love of art. Then I found that math came easily and I thought that I could teach math - until I hit my first college class and that dream tanked pretty quickly. Eventually I found myself Christmas break of my sophomore year of college sitting on the toilet in Saundra’s little place up in Isanti, Minnesota. I was just minding my own business sitting on the toilet when the idea popped into my head, “You could be an English teacher!” That was it. I’m not sure if it was God or just my own voice, but at any rate I returned to school declaring an English major with the intent of becoming and English teacher. I never looked back.

But that’s not all there is to me. My other dream continues to be that of changing the world little by little through volunteer work. When I don’t need to work anymore, what I’d like to do is volunteer for the Red Cross or even Green Peace. I’ve seen retired people on television during natural disasters who just pick up their lives, and drive their RV to the location that needs them. I’d be perfectly content to hand out water bottles out of the back of a van for people in trouble and displaced. It would be a way to give back to the world, hurting communities, and perfect strangers with a sort of random act of kindness that I could afford to do because I won’t be working anymore. I’d love it if my husband would want to come with me. But we could do our own thing during those brief weeks, if necessary.

Recently, I was listening to the radio and their was a story about retired people volunteering for such efforts through Green Peace. I loved that idea! That could take us all over the world to placed we’d never dreamed of going. (Sort of like being in Korea, which wasn’t even so much a dream - it just happened!) Now that I’ve begun to see the world as an expat and a tourist, I think it would be awesome to see more of the world as a volunteer. Then I could continue making a difference AND learning AND providing an example to my children of how to live a life “worthwhile.”

In the end, these all seem to tie together: education, learning, volunteering. They all come back to the idea of making a difference through living a life “for others” because for me that is the “stuff that dreams are made of”.

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