Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Inspired by Many

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."

                                                                                   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

        Who are you inspired by? This is Day 7's question for the Reflective Teacher. My days aren't close to being lined up with the timeline, but I'm pushing forward nonetheless. So many people enter our lives, for flittering seconds or for moments or for years, but the ones who stay with you? The memorable ones? To me, those are the people who inspire me.
        Life cruises along. Sometimes we're shouting with glee like Whitman at the "sparkle and scud." Other times may be more contemplative, and nature invades our more darker musings as Bryant suggests in"Thanatopsis." Whatever the case, there is usually someone who comes along and with words to reach out and connect to you. It seems, at least for me, when I least expect to be inspired, I am.
       I can't limit whom I'm inspired by because it's many. My first thoughts flit to my colleagues...BR is a huge inspiration to me. She teaches with such energy and enthusiasm--she's totally all in. Whenever we have coffee or just chat, I come away with something new to try in my classroom. Beyond a great teacher, she's an incredible mom. Huge inspiration to me.
        One of my son's former English teachers also inspires me. SC seamlessly merges technology into his curriculum  so students learn real-life skills in the context of their class. I've used so much of his material, I'm surprised it appears anything I teach is my own. Not only does he share, but he's so willing to break things down and almost "mini-teach" how he uses an idea or the technology. I've told him he's who I want to be when I grow up--a teacher who effectively reaches kids, connects with them, and challenges them to learn. That's SC.
        Another inspiring colleague is ES. Although in the first year of teaching high school, he's so full of ideas that when we talk I get inspired to try new approaches and steal some of his techniques. I appreciate his enthusiasm and optimism. I need a shot of both far too often!
       There are few, however, who inspire me like these next two groups. The first mass of inspiration comes from my kids--my students. I look at their resilience and resolve and marvel daily at their tenacity to fight through everything to continue on their quest to graduate. These are kids who have struggled either socially or academically or both to fit into a traditional school. I am inspired at their acceptance of new students and each other. Differences and outward appearances matter little to them. It's all about the person.
        Personally, and finally, three people inspire me. My brother has Parkinsons and has had it for about nine or ten years. Yet during that time I've never heard a complaint or seen him without a grin. He's faced incredible difficulties and does so with a smile and an attitude that surpasses anything I could muster. We don't live near each other, but when I 'm in the area, I'll look him up. Just like I looked up to him as a kid, I still look up to him today. If I had one-eighth the positive attitude he does, I'd be a different person.
         Finally, my sister and husband are also inspirations to me. They model positive behaviors and treat people so well. In my impatience, I often become short with people. Not them. They have the ability to make everyone feel important.
        So there it is, the top people who inspire me

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