I GOT A TEXT FROM DC LAST NIGHT
Tragically, it was not the White House asking me for advice on the future of our nation - or the future of our Nation's Department of Education. If you have read some of my blogs, you might be aware that I have a student who is attending the inaguration this week. She is actually attending a Leadership Summit that happens to conicide with the Presidential Inaguration. The course she is attending is: Pathways to Power - Womean and Leaders. She's 11.
Her mom texted me yesterday because after all the excitement of this new adventure, when it came to watch her parents walk away and leave her for four days - she got a little terrified. Poor kid. She was super excited to hear Malala Yousafazi speak, and attend on of the balls, and see all the monuments, and attend the actual Inaguration, but then she realized that she would be in a strange city, in a strange place, without her mom and dad.
The fabulous advisors at the organization of course helped her say good-bye to her parents, and last I heard she is having a great time - far too busy to miss home very much. No doubt she will return to us with far better leadership skills than I possess. I hope she comes home with a firm belief that she can and will do anything.
It was a totally normal reaction. Being in new situations can be really tough. I feel that way a lot. I don't really like change. (Switching Presidents would be challenging for me under ANY circumstances). I am not good at moves, or job changes, or people saying, "No, call me Pip now -- I don't go by Phillip any more." These things stretch me.
Of course change is constant. It is the river that runs under everything else -- moving along, sometimes swiftly and sometimes slowly, but always, always moving. No doubt, the change in leadership of our Nation will trickle down to us, working the trenches of the American Public Classroom.
As The Husband has pointed out on more than one occassion, change isn't always bad, even if it is uncomfortable. I have come to accept this, and am learning to embrace it more and more. I taught at one school for fifteen years, and leaving it (being pushed abruptly out - along with 2/3 of the staff) was unsettling. It made me question if I was truly meant to be an educator. It caused me anxious nights and days. But I love where I am now, and the change was fantastic. I love where I work, and I love having a Union that speaks for me, and all the benefits that come with working for the public school system. I will never be in a positon where one person can say, "Let everyone go." with cause or explanation. I am protected from that. So obviously it was good change, but at the time it was pretty horrible.
There is definitely change ahead, and of course their would be regardless of who places their hand on that Bible tomorrow. Things change. We change. We adapt. I think what doesn't change are the important things that we cling to - for me that is faith, family and a committment to not just talking (or writing) about the importance of being a positive member of the community I live in, but actually being one. For me, that means being committed to being the best teacher I can be - every day.
It means encouraging an 11 year old girl that she can stand in the same room as senators and leaders with her head held high; that her voice matters and that even though she is thousands of miles from home, in a strange place with strangers, she is right where she belongs - seated alongside leaders, who are leaning forward, ready to hear her speak.
You go, Lina Girl, and come back to all of us transformed so you can lead others to raise their voices, too. That's what is great about America -- the power and optimism of a strong, well-educated child - determined to rise.