My days, as of late, have been spent deeper in the study of “why X isn’t happening” than I’m used to or comfortable with. I knew a piece of this would likely happen when I moved from teaching and the daily amazement of the classroom to the life of a graduate student last year. I knew the conversation would likely become more insular when I started a research doctoral program this year.
Still, I’ve never felt comfortable not making things, not doing things, not moving. My elementary school report cards (the last ones to include narrative feedback) noted this discomfort: Zac is a joy to have in class, if he could just stay in his seat and curb the talking.
While those are tasks I’m able to master when fully focused nowadays and the talking is usually questioning, they’re not my default. I like to do things.
Dense readings and statistics assignments, though, have a way of asking you to sit down, shut up, and then do that some more.
Today, Anthony (a friend I’ve not spoken to since I finished undergrad) posted the video below to the book of faces, and I watched it. This is a rarity. Most Facebook videos elicit a scroll-by from me. For whatever reason, I watched it. I’m glad I did, and I wish I could make it so that every next faculty meeting planned at schools across the country start with this video and then proceed to a deep conversation of, “How can we help our kids answer this question and realize their hopes?”
I’m not familiar with Alan Watts (yet) and infinite voices are likely able to list the myriad reasons why what he describes isn’t possible for so many of the children in our care. I find myself uninterested in those reasons or at least not paying them the insurmountable heed most conversations in education tend to lend them.
What other reason to work in education than to be aspirational? I can think of no word or sentiment that so finely describes what drew me to the classroom each day or what I hoped for my students. And, while I aspired for their success, education and teaching were about my own aspirations, that I might be the better version of myself that I hadn’t quite become the day before for whatever reason.
Let us do more with aspire than emptily attach it to the name of some new school. Let us enact it. Let us use it to drive our decisions, our questions, and our care.