I hope you all had a summer where you were able to enjoy time with friends and family, adjust to the slower pace and recharge for what I hope will be a wonderful school year.
This summer Franny and I vacationed in Montreal – and how fortunate we were to be there during the thick of the heat wave! I travelled with Lainey to my favorite place in the world, Cape Cod! It was a thrill for me as I took her to all the best spots – from the fresh water ponds to the tidal flats of First Encounter Beach to the boisterous art-filled colorful Provincetown and the amazing Sleepy town of Eastham where you will be able to send my retirement check when the time comes!
In thinking about todays’ remarks I reflected on my summer. To my surprise, I watched a lot of TV – a habit I don’t usually subscribe to. I watched in earnest the two political conventions – one because I wanted to and the other because I was baited by my daughter to know the other side’s policies better to embolden my arguments….. Thank you teachers for teaching my daughter so well! I do think it best however to refrain from discussing my true thoughts about the current political discourse of our country.
I also watched in awe, along with the rest of the world, as the Olympics streamed into my living room. I watched Jamaica’s Usain Bolt defend and maintain his title as the fastest man in the world. I watched the poise and the strength of Simone Biles as she captivated us with her gravity- defying feats. I watched Brazil’s men’s soccer team become home town heroes. I watched the US women’s 4x100 relay team run alone on a track to qualify for and ultimately win the gold medal race. I watched the triumphant and tragic outcomes in soccer, basketball, swimming, diving and volleyball (just to name a few).
The world witnessed how commitment, hard work and sacrifice can bring success and pride not only to one’s self but to one’s nation and at the same time, we saw others who, equally as committed, hardworking and sacrificing fell short of their goals. I found so many parallels to the work we do each day. Because if you think about it, Olympians like teachers can be quite inspirational. Olympians like teachers are leaders - undeniable role models. When thinking about what makes an Olympian several characteristics came to mind.
Olympians like the best teachers I know are passionate. They love what they do and they share what they love. The most engaged students are those who are learning from dynamic and passionate educators.
Olympians like the best teachers I know are resilient. They allow setbacks to fuel their desire to grow and improve. As teachers we are always learning. This work of education is ever-evolving constantly changing, fluid and dynamic.
There is not an Olympian out there without a team. As the cliché goes, there is no “I” in team. We all know that our students thrive when we work together and support one another.
Olympians Never Quit. Neither do we! The tenacious teacher will always find a way to meet the needs of his or her students.
Olympians like every teacher I know are fearless and focused. The goal is clear – creating opportunities for our students to achieve their personal best.
So when the kids arrive tomorrow – Go for the gold. Be passionate! Be resilient! Work together! Support each other! Be tenacious! Be fearless and focused! And just for good measure, be brave! The kids are counting on us.
Ron Roaldsen, writes to keep you informed of the happenings in the EWTA as well as in public education; the mundane to the insane.