powerful moments in education
I apologize if anyone is getting annoyed with my continued need for Wizard of Oz references. It’s just that I have experienced that movie on so many levels, at so many different ages, that it is my go-to for so many metaphors when I need to dig one out… Actually- NO. I don’t apologize. I love the Wizard of Oz. ;)
When I was 8 or 9 years old, I became obsessed with gymnastics. I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast and saw no reason why this was unattainable. I mean, I was flexible, determined, well-versed in the nuts & bolts of the sport, but truly I was NEVER strong enough or small enough. For years my parents, God bless’m, drove me 45 minutes 2-3 times a week each summer and at least 1x weekly during the school year. On my “off days” I became an expert at setting the timer for the recorder on the VCR, making sure to capture any championships, trials, or televised meets that I could possibly find. For some of the gymnasts, Brandy Johnson for example, I had their routines memorized. Listening to Bart Connor commentate was such a familiar sound for me that when I heard his voice on a YouTube gymnastics video a few weeks ago when I was reminiscing, I was taken back…way back. I won’t go into details about the 3 weeks I spent watching the ABC family show “Make It or Break It”, obnoxiously crying, wishing what could have been, and adoring that fact that Ted was secretly enjoying my teen TV drama fling.
My mother told me one day that it wasn’t possible to do gymnastics anymore- I was getting “too tall” and it was “too far away” she said, but as I became an adult, I knew that she made me leave because she really gets me. Some crazy business about making sure I was “well rounded”. I was, am, and always have been, the kind of person that finds her niche, or a niche-like-fling, and jumps on to it’s flying trapeze with all caution to the wind, sensical decision making stuck in the net. She knew I would be the type that ended up isolated, antisocial, probably injured, and lost in her own world, ending up starring in commercials or public service announcements on eating disorders.
I have gone down this path with so many experiments, some of them lifetime hobbies, such as playing the piano, flute, writing, playing soccer, running, yoga, creating artwork…….But in my time so far I know one thing is true. Teaching is where I get to do ALL of my hobbies. At random times. And whenever necessary. But honestly? I still look back to the nights when my dad would tuck me in and say, “So, what are you going to be when you grow up?” and I would respond, “Mmmm..An astronaut.” “Still?” “Of course, why WOULDN’T I be, Dad?” Oh- where do cartwheels come in with teaching? 2nd year- toughest class ever- bribe to student who never turned anything in, “I’ll do a cartwheel if you bring in your book report on time.” She did, and I cartwheeled.