Monday, April 7, 2014

The Initial Vision

The path of an idea, from initial vision to what it becomes in reality, is central to what I call art.

While we usually think of a work of art as some inanimate thing, constructed in a relatively short period of time, are not our very lives an ongoing work shaped to a large degree by our ideas and our attempts to make them real? We make our lives as we pursue a vision of what we want it to be.

Within our lives we find many other smaller works, one of which could be our careers. In fact, teaching like an artist might be nothing more than examining ourselves and our job as art. We must consider what we make through our work and how our work is shaped in return. 

In this way, I find it fascinating to talk to teachers about when they first realized they wanted to teach. When did we get that initial vision that we could do this job? When did we want it badly enough to start making it reality? How did that change over time?

I had several false starts in my own journey to become a teacher, each with it's own lessons. I remember well the night I finally relented and decided to start in the teaching program. Knowing what I do now about the profession and my performance, it seems like a terrible idea looking back, but here is how it went. 

I was in a job I didn't enjoy and I just had another letdown with my ever present dream of having a band. I was lying in bed, sleepless and frustrated. I wanted to do something more significant and teaching came to mind, like it did other times in years past. 

It wasn't that I cared to teach math or really any particular subject. Instead, that night I was feeling my friends had given up on a dream to play music. I got the idea that through teaching I could help teenagers pursue their dreams.

I saw math class as something students would have to work through even though they hated it. As such, and as stupid as this sounds to me now, I imagined that could be a perfect example for them of working through obstacles in pursuit of a dream they really wanted. 

I'd have a talk with my former self about that idea if I could. There's so much wrong with it, so much more to what the job really entails. Yet at the same time I would not talk myself out of the decision to start in the teaching program.

That's enough of my own journey for now. What was your initial vision like?

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