Monday, May 30, 2016

Reaching Ahead into Marvelous Places

There are times I look to Joseph Campbell.

I have a bookshelf full of his writing and sometimes I like to pull out a book and open to a random page to digest his insightful words and ponder the complexities of life.  He was a prolific writer, gifted educator, and an inspiration to so many but even he balanced the minutia of everyday life against the loftier pursuits of purpose, passion and fulfillment.

Campbell was a teacher whose writings can be applied to a great many circumstances so today when I opened up his authorized biography A Fire in the Mind to help direct my thoughts about the departure of our student teacher, Eileen, I found this journal entry especially fitting;
I could see my whole life reaching ahead into marvelous places and into realms of the things I like best.  I could feel that at last the very impossible had taken shape inside me, and I could look things in the face now without feeling that eternal question mark like a veil between my eyes and everything else.  
Eileen's journey towards teaching followed a circuitous path but at last she has found her marvelous place.  She taught with us for 3 months and during that time we witnessed a transformation.  She became more confident.  She tried new things, learned from her failures and built upon her successes.  She made connections with children.  She worked hard and is ready to join the ranks of those of us who show up each and every day to comfort, guide and educate.  

On her last day we asked the children to share a memory.  Their responses were varied but each one brought Eileen a little closer to the edge of tears.  Here is a snippet...
  1. I like when Eileen helps me with math and our tens and ones.
  2. Every time I am sad Eileen cheers me up.
  3. I like when Eileen plays with us when we are doing choice time.
  4. She lets us learn all the poems.
  5. Eileen always gives me hugs.
  6. I like when Eileen helps us.
  7. I like when Eileen helps us with the hundreds chart.
  8. I love when Eileen teaches math.
As a goodbye gift we gave Eileen a canvas bag decorated with the handprints of the children and filled with various and sundry classroom supplies.

The contents of the bag symbolize where she is going but the handprints serve as a reminder of where she has been.

Best of everything to you Eileen as you reach ahead into marvelous places and into the realms of what you like best!

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