I was struck and inspired by the value and appreciation our guests had for us as teachers. They believe in our power to educate their descendants with intention and respect. When Selina told her story about her experience at Sheldon Jackson college, being forbidden to speak her native language, I thought that memory maybe would have jaded her view and trust of educators, but she was so thrilled to speak to us about the improvement she has seen with Tlingit language in the schools. She was so passionate in sharing her story with people who can make that difference for students in the future.
David talked about how everything we need and all our students need to be successful is within us. “It is in you” was really empowering to hear, and definitely something I will pass on to empower my students. In a similar vein, Linda’s coping mechanism focused on the teacher’s boundaries and agency. She took away some pressure by saying we can only control our response to what we are given in the classroom, we can’t control how other people act or react. In that way, it is within us to choose our responsible, yet respectful boundaries. Having completed my student teaching already for the program, I feel fairly burnt out and without direction. Their wisdom was a source of strength today. They convinced me that I really do have it within me to teach 6 hours a week, take 9 credits of graduate school, and plan for what’s next in the next 3 weeks. I wish I could have had their words with me during times of my student teaching this year, when I really questioned whether I was cut out for this extremely hard job I’ve signed up for. Now I will carry it with me as inspiration and pass it along to my students, so that they know everyday that they are unique, precious, and capable of VERY much.