Less than an hour later my parents called me back. While I fumed (this was definitely their fault, somehow), they gave their brand of advice. They calmly told me to get into bed, go to sleep and put the question of what to do out to the universe, and the answer would come to me in my dreams. Maddened by this pathetic plan, I told them what they could do with their hippie advice and slammed the phone again. [Really, slamming a phone soothed the soul.] But I did what they suggested, though the question I threw out to the universe was as petulant and mistrusting as possible.
That night I had a dream. I was sitting in my high school English class, listening to my AP Lit teacher drone on. In my dream, I thought to myself that she was an idiot. She kind of was – she pronounced ‘human’ with the ‘h’ silent. She turned to me, held out the chalk in her hand, and said “Then you do it.”
I awoke the next morning and applied to masters teaching programs at every university in and near Washington, D.C.
It’s a good story isn’t it? And it’s true, every word. But of course, there’s more truth to tell.
My maternal grandmother was a teacher. My mother was and still is a teacher. My father told me from the youngest of ages that I had a responsibility to give back what I had a received: an excellent education from years and years of dedicated and gifted teachers. And I loved school –the thoughtful intellectual discussions, the opening of my mind, even the cycle of starting fresh each semester and finishing exhausted a few months later. My skill set fits teaching: I’m organized, I love meeting new people and learning about their lives, I can discuss books for as long as anyone is willing to stick around.
More amazing than the dream is the thought that I hadn’t considered being a teacher already.
Most days I feel like I’m pretty good at what I do. Some days I’m sure I’m a failure. One of my colleagues once told me, “You’re never as good as you think you are on your best day, but never as bad as you think you are on your worst day.” On the worst days, when I’m miserable and I have no idea how to approach whatever problem has presented itself, I get into bed, go to sleep, and put the question out there to the universe. By morning, I always have a solution.