Thursday, February 2, 2012


I often tell my students the story of sitting in the exact spot they are currently sitting, but the year was 1985 (which they think is absolutely ages ago). My mind would wander from the teacher’s lecture, to the book that was “hidden” inside my textbook, to the note I had folded into a triangle to pass to my friend Kara at the water fountain. When my mind would focus back in on the teacher and the lesson at hand, I often found myself wishing for the same thing, that one day I would be the adult in the classroom, the teacher.

My building, built in 1894
Flash forward twenty-seven years. I am now exactly where I dreamed I would be, standing in that ancient building, teaching students. I smile to myself when I see them try and “sneak-read” a chapter as I teach. I still read way too late at night so I can share my favorite books the next day. I often return to old favorites from my childhood and sell those books to a new group of students. Eavesdropping on a group of girls this week I overheard them extolling the virtues of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret. Who knew kids would love it in 2012 as much as I did in 1983?

The thing I love to share with my students is that I’m living my dream. I always wanted to be a teacher, since the time my mom first gave me a grade book. I remember in second grade creating a class roster for my class of stuffed animals in my bedroom. I remember practicing reading aloud by holding up picture books so the animals could see it and reading from the side, like a teacher. I tell my students to close their eyes, visualize what their dream is for their life. If it could happen to me, it could happen to them.

What I haven’t told them, what I’m scared to share, is that it isn’t my whole dream. Don’t get me wrong; teaching is what I was born to do. I know it as sure as I know the sky is blue. But there is another dream, one that pokes me awake at night. The one that makes me pause as I stare out the window. The dream I am afraid of verbalizing because it will be out there, and that is scary. But, like teaching, it is a dream that has been there since I was young and it is getting harder to ignore. My secret dream? I want to write.

I had stuffed that desire, that dream down so far I had forgotten about it. But, luckily, it didn’t forget about me. And, as fate would have it, I met friends who got me on the path back to writing. I’ve started here, and who knows, this might be as far as I go. I love writing on this blog because it gives me a chance to put my thoughts out there, to see what resonates with others. There are other whispers of writing possibilities that nag at me. I’d love to publish some articles on teaching, to write a book for teachers, to write a book for kids. Will I? I don’t know. I’ve given myself this year to let ideas roll around in my head. I tried to start writing this fall, and have a few things on my computer, but grad school overwhelmed me. So now, I let the ideas wash over me. My goal is to think about it, make it through this last semester of grad school, and then, we’ll see. I don’t want to ignore this part of my dream anymore. And I want to show my students, and my own boys, that our dreams can come true, if only we are brave enough to take the leap.