"To whom much is given, much is expected." - John F. Kennedy
By now, it is becoming imminently clear to all of us that this year, being recognized as state Teachers of the Year, is an amazing privilege. But with every great privilege, comes great responsibility. We find ourselves excited by the ideas we're generating; by the vision we're collectively shaping. And still, we also find ourselves wondering how exactly we will fit these grandiose ideas into our everyday lives without sacrificing our families, our friends, our colleagues, and our teaching. This is perhaps the most daunting aspect of this great recognition.
I once heard an introduction of Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States. As he was introduced to receive a prize, a full twenty years after his presidency, it was said of Carter that he, "used his presidency to go on to do bigger and better things." Think about that! In what is often considered to be the penultimate position in all of America, Carter continued moving forward; shaping lives and sharing his vision for the world. The scope of his efforts reached far beyond his single-term presidency.
I look to that description and I draw inspiration- to not let this year slip away and to be sure to recognize this as a beginning, and most definitely not an end. Where exactly I might start is still unclear to me. To know how to begin on this incredible journey, especially following this burst of enthusiasm, energy, and inspiration, seems lofty. As one of my students once described this feeling, after being exposed to ideas that stretch and challenge us, "I guess I just got to let it marinade for a little while."