As August winds down my head is filled with Teachers. . . long ago Teachers who’ve left their legacy and moved on . . . future Teachers, like kids I’ve met recently whose Dream is to be a Teacher . . . and right now Teachers, like my colleagues who call out on late summer evenings, “Here I come . . . ready or not”. . . This is for all of them. . .
“What is the meaning of Life?” a great Teacher was once asked:
Taking his wallet out of his hip pocket, he fished into a leather billfold and brought out a very small round mirror, about the size of a quarter.
And what he said went like this:
“When I was a small child, during the war, we were very poor and we lived in a remote village. One day, on the road, I found the broken pieces of a mirror. A German motorcycle had been wrecked in that place.
“I tried to find all the pieces and put them together, but it was not possible, so I kept only the largest piece. This one. And by scratching it on a stone I made it round. I began to play with it as a toy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine — in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find.
“I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of light. But light — truth, understanding, knowledge — is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.
“I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world — into the black places in the hearts of men — and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.”
And then he took his small mirror and, holding it carefully, caught the bright rays of daylight streaming through the window and reflected them onto my face and onto my hands folded on the desk.
Much of what I experienced in the way of information about Greek culture and history that summer is gone from memory. But in the wallet of my mind I carry a small round mirror still.
Are there any questions?”
(from the book, It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It , by Robert Fulghum, the same guy who wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten )
Ready or not, a new school year is upon us. You’re already aware of some of the challenges before you. You can also be certain there will be challenges that are totally unforeseeable at this time. Thank you . . . all of you . . . for being there.
You are Teachers.