There have been a few things on my mind recently. The first one deals with the above quote. I have always admired Steve Jobs, but when I finished reading his biography, his drive to be innovative and create something the world has never seen, infected me. I completely agree with the fact that we exist to do something. Jobs felt that it was to do something great. I am feeling a loss of purpose, which leads me to another thought cloud weighing heavily above my head: I am not in the classroom anymore. This is the first year, where I do not have 27+ students of my own, in my own space, collaborating and inspiring. My job as a teacher was simply defined. My role as a teacher/mentor has always been deeper. I thrive on inspiring others to greatness. I love questioning the status quo, and better yet, having my students do the same. Now, as a coach, I am charged with mentoring other teachers via instructional technology. This is not a bad path, but I am new to it. I feel like a small fish in a much larger district pond, sometimes feeling unsure as to how I achieve the same greatness (if only in my head) I had as a teacher. I am both excited and scared about how to proceed. I feel confident that if I continue working the way I have always worked, that I will achieve some semblance of notoriety amongst my colleagues, which brings me to my third and final thought. I am older. I’m not old, just older. I read recently that there are two patterns of innovative genius in this world: Picasso and Cezanne. David Galenson, studying museums and galleries during and after his doctoral work, noticed a pattern. “Those who follow the Picasso pattern are brilliant young people who produce their greatest efforts early in life” (Drew, 2011, p. 47). As they get older, they continue to be creative and create, but their greatest works came early, with very little new innovations. “Those who follow the Cezanne pattern gradually accumulate knowledge and experience and continuously incorporate what they have learned into their work” (Drew, 2011, p. 48). Just as in wine, they get better with age. So, which pattern do I follow? I am inclined to believe (and hope) that I still have great work to accomplish. At 36, I can’t imagine that my greatest accomplishments are behind me. To be clear, I am immensely proud of all that I have: family with beautiful children, successful career making a difference in the school district where I was raised, and relative health. However, I can’t help but recently look at younger generations of talent; so much, so early!
Teachers are, by nature, humble creatures. We don’t seek recognition because we feel that our calling is greater than rewards and accomplishments. However, teachers are ones who need recognition more than others. I can attest to the fact that years of anonymity can begin to wear on an individual. Now, especially without the fandom of my students, I am feeling something. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it is palatable. Perhaps this is where my desire to write again stems from. I am finished with my dissertation and part of an innovative team with the potential to affect more change than I could as a classroom teacher. What do I want? Do I want to be a famous author? Poet? Change-maker for my district? Do I want to be an educational consultant, touring conferences giving advice on how to improve education? Do I even know the answer? I have ideas, but are they worth sharing? Are they worth money? I can’t help, but feel that wanting some sort of financial recognition for my hard work does appeal to me. It is not the most important item, but I would be lying if I didn’t feel that it wasn’t important. Hmmmmm….
My plan: make a dent in the universe. How? Experience and my nature tells me to just keep doing what I am doing. I have a strong work ethic and I am sure something will happen. I’m just not sure what it will be.