A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
This will be my last blog post! It is time to give Kristin her place to inspire and reflect. I hope that she enjoys it as much as I have.
I am so thankful for the experience of this year. I have learned so much in the role of Harford County’s Teacher of the Year. This was an amazing opportunity for me to realize that my calling is still my calling and that my fire for it burns brightly.
In one of my favorite novels by Beth Hoffman entitled, “Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt”, a young character struggles to find her place in the world after her mother dies. Cee Cee, the main character, ends up living with her Aunt Tootie in Savannah, Georgia. Aunt Tootie introduces Cee Cee to a crazy cast of characters but also guides her toward a purposeful life. One of my favorite passages reads,
“She glanced over her shoulder at the house, which was now bathed in a warm tint of yellow from the sun. “Yes, everyone needs to find the one thing that brings out her passion. It’s what we do and share with the world that matters. I believe it’s important that we leave our communities in better shape that we found them. Cecelia Rose," she said, reaching for my hand, "Far too many people die with a heart that's gone flat with indifference, and it surely must be a terrible way to go. Life will offer us amazing opportunities, but we've got to be awake to recognize them."
She rested her hands on my shoulders and looked into my eyes. "If there's one thing I'd like most for you, it’s that you'll find your calling in life. That's where true happiness and purpose lie. Whether it’s taking care of abandoned animals, saving old houses from the wreckin' ball or reading to the blind, you've got to find your fire, sugar. You'll never be fulfilled if you don't."
"But how will I know what my fire is?"
"Oh, you'll know. One day you'll do something, see something or get an idea that seems to pop up from nowhere. And you'll feel a kind of stirring- like a warm flicker inside your chest. When that happens, whatever you do, don't ignore it. Open your mind and explore the idea. Fan your flame. And when you do, you'll have found it.” Beth Hoffman, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
That flicker that started inside my chest almost twenty years ago still burns bright. I am still so proud to be a teacher. I still believe that connecting students to potent ideas will yield great things. I still believe in all that we do.
Once again, I need to say thank you to all of those colleagues, administrators, family and friends who have helped me to tend my fire as a teacher. I would not have been a Teacher of the Year without what you have given me.
It has been a pleasure. It has always been a pleasure to work with so many innovators, creators, dreamers, and leaders. I am excited to watch Kristin’s journey and to read her thoughts in the coming year!
“[...] each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves” Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
Thank you for the fire that you have given me this year! Blessings for continued success!