“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
-Hunter S. Thompson, “Gonzo”
I’ve loved this little metaphor since I first heard it. The idea that life is for living and when we are done, we can look back on all those things we did and think “Wow! What a ride!” I find this verse especially apropos now given the nearness of the end of the school year. Teachers are tired and counting the days, so are the kids. There is a certain exhaustion in the air that is palpable, an exhaustion that is recognizable to anyone who has spent years in the schools. It’s time for a well deserved rest.
At some point however, look back on your year and recount the moments that mattered. Recognize the time a child succeeded on an assignment that they really worked hard on. Remember seeing that shy little face sitting in the back of the room at the beginning of the year and seeing it light up and find it’s own strength, recognizing this is a safe place to be. Remember the nutty teacher / student dodge ball game, the pie in the face for charity and the silly little jokes that went like wild fire around your room. Look back on these and say – “Wow! What a ride!”
Also remember that despite the fact that you feel dragged down and finished – a little tussle headed, that there were others riding with you at times. Coming swiftly around one of the hair turn bends of interviews, you had colleagues to laugh and banter with. Remember that deep falling point of report cards, there was your principals, holding your hand and ensuring that you were not alone. Remember those times where you were scared you were not making a difference, there was those bright little faces giving you a knowing smile. They’ve helped you through the tough ride of this school year and you’ve been a part of their ride as well.
So, at the end of this school year, you’re a little rougher looking version of you than in September. You’ve gained a few scratches, your hair is not quite as coifed as at the start and your heart is beating a little faster than the ideal. The life of an educator. Now, as things start to calm down and you can focus on one thing at a time rather than thirty, find the moments that were worth remembering. Find the points that made you learn. Find the points you made a difference. Find the points you were an excellent YOU. Take those moments and know that you are in the best profession ever and smile. “Wow! What a ride!”
So, just to lighten you up, here is video that will help you smile. Who doesn’t love laughing babies!
Keep on learning!