Happy 2013! I have been enjoying a lengthy holiday break here at the Sacred Profession but am excited to get back into the swing of things with daily (or at least, attempted daily) postings. Today was a wonderful and inspirational day as I spent almost the entire day catching up with former students. One of the advantages of teaching secondary students is getting to see a quicker return on your investment. I have struggled over the past few weeks to be optimistic about the future of our country (or heck even humanity in general) but visiting with these remarkable young men and women today was like medicine for my soul. Despite the challenges our community faces here in the Rio Grande Valley, these kids tackled one of the most rigorous college preparatory curriculums in the world (the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program) and were successful. Now in college, they are working hard, volunteering, earning passing grades in challenging classes, holding down thankless jobs for much needed textbook money, and generally kicking butt. I am so proud.
I was particularly proud to see so many of these college students come early to help tutor current high school seniors in Jenny Corroy’s IB English class. Many of them showed up as early as 7:45am this morning in order to help out with Ms. Corroy’s first period! Alumni are such a powerful – and often untapped – resource in our schools. It was amazing to watch the intensity and energy level in these student-to-student sessions.
At the end of each class, Ms. Corroy thanked the alumni and pointed out how they were beginning to give back to a community that invested so much in them. She also charged her current students to plan on coming back this time next year to tutor next years students. It reminded me of the quote:
“If you have come to help me, then you are wasting your time…But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine then let us work together.” – Lila Watson
The more we can empower our students with a “give”, rather than a “take” or “receive,” mentality the more we work to build healthy, sustainable communities. This is often a difficult task but after visiting with my former students today I was inspired to move into 2013 looking for ways to work along side my students rather than always at the front of the room.
Happy New Year!