SO… Every year at this time, I go through a career crisis. Steering the ship that is my school fills my mind and my heart with stress and distress. I’m constantly wondering if it’s an effort worth continuing or if it’s a complete waste of time. This year, more than others, the debate in my brain is more rambunctious fueled by the armed conflict in Marawi.
In embracing the mission of education, I chose from the very first moment to acknowledge all the things I believe must be learned. Yes, reading and writing and arithmetic matter but that certainly is not enough. To equip our young people to be contributing, compassionate, world-changing, kind, forgiving–that is a goal worth aspiring to. Sounds ambitious? It certainly is. But then again, if we look past the prizes and the medals we parents spend so much time and money on to earn bragging rights, can we see the future? Or do we only see the future we want for our kids?
To paraphrase a quotation I frequently repeat, it’s not our job to raise children to survive in a diffiult and trying world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world much less difficult and trying.
A couple of days ago, a parent came to me complaining because I’m still allowing Muslim students to enrol in my school. I was hard put to explain that acceptance of others regardless of skin color, gender preference, socio-economic status, or religion is one important value on which the school is founded.
“But times are different and these Marawi Muslims are different,” was the reply. I was without speech. Which rarely happens.
Although teeth-clenchingly difficult, I told myself to practice what I preach and respect the difference in opinion. And herein lies my dilemma. In making an effort to teach his child/my student to be a better global citizen, it is clear that the parent’s opinion is going to have an effect on this poor hapless child. I wonder what line I may be in danger of crossing, especially since I have a habit of doing so without hesitation or regret.
I do what I do because I want the world to be a better place. For everybody. Even though at times it seems we are driving a speeding Lamborghini straight to hell. I wonder if I’m making a difference as I have always hoped to do.
And once yet again, retirement is starting to look good.