Written at the end of my first year of teaching. Funny how things don’t really change, except the awful metaphor at the end…I wish I would have changed that. 😉
21 April 2010
I hope someday they tell you you’re pretty, and that you don’t need to keep your opinions to yourself. I cannot tell you this because it might come off wrong and I could lose my job.
So many of you behave like former friends, some platonic and some otherwise. I cannot tell you this because it might come off wrong and I could lose my job.
Some of you will go far in life, always wanting to learn more; some of you will not. I cannot tell you this because it might come off wrong and I could lose my job.
I want to tell you not to be afraid, try new things, and to think for yourself and not your parents. I cannot tell you this because if might come off wrong and I could lose my job.
I want to show you how you’ve been manipulated all your life, but I cannot tell you this because I might lose my job.
I want you to see how media and culture have shaped you into who you are right now, but I can’t.
I want to tell you about all the religions of the world and how yours is likely keeping all of them from you, but I can’t.
I want you to open yourself up to everything—not just what’s comfortable to you but all of it, and I can’t.
All I can do is nudge you, prod you, until you feel a bit of pressure against what you thought was meaning in your life. I want your life to be uncomfortable but not stifled. I want you to never be satisfied with what you have or know, and I will push you until you feel yourself sliding down the slope of a mind-bending search for truth.
I don’t do this to upset you or to anger you; I do this so you know for yourself what the world is. I do this so that you may bear me in mind when you teach your children someday. I do this so that you may learn in a way you’ve never learned before: eyes wide open.
I can’t do many things and I won’t attempt to indoctrinate you into my method of thinking, but I have to give you the tools. I have to give you the vehicle to drive yourself to all the people you will become: a student, an employee, a consumer, a partner, a friend, and a caregiver. I will give you the vehicle. I will even give you the keys.
You must take the initiative and get a license. No one can do that but you. I hope you keep in mind though that while you’re driving, others are in the car—you will never only be influencing yourself. Drive carefully.