When I was a little girl, I used to lie down on the floor at night and look up through the branches of our Christmas tree. The lights sparkled against the ornaments mesmerizing me. I remember thinking that there were infinite possibilities hidden in those branches. That life was going to be a series of magnificent, sparkling moments.
I left for college in 1989 with my heart set on being a secondary education teacher. I didn't foresee the unplanned pregnancy or the complete breakdown of my immediate family. I didn't notice myself slipping from one branch to another, all the way down until I was on the floor again. It took twenty years.
Last winter I decided to return to secondary education. I forgot to remember I'd been here all along. When I applied for my certification, the state surprised me with a list of courses, (undergraduate courses), I needed to take to fulfill the requirements. Undergraduate courses? What? I TEACH undergraduate courses. I went through some disbelief, a little anger, some angst and hand-wringing. And then I signed up for the classes.
To my surprise I enjoyed them. From day one, I enjoyed the process of becoming a student again. The lessons were pertinent, the other students (Young!) but interesting. I remember thinking "I wish I'd been this prepared when I was an undergrad!"
I was learning humility. Many times I didn't know the answers to questions. Many times the students were there, teaching me about the way kids are learning these days.
So I leave behind this fall of 2010 with a teaching certificate in hand. A goal, no longer deferred. And I look at the Christmas tree while I write this reflection and realize I'm halfway back up the branches.