There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.Nelson Mandela
As one year draws to a close and another year opens before us, spending time in reflection allows one to recognize the slow and gradual personal changes that took place over the course of the past year. Throughout the academic year, the demands of the profession can circumvent contemplation on personal growth; however, by pausing to acknowledge our ongoing and evolutionary process we can recognize that where we are at this point it time is a result of earlier dreams and goals. Hard work, vision, passion and perseverance bring to the present moment the cultivation of past ambitions set in motion; with the new year ahead we begin again to aim towards new vistas. We are no longer the same person we were a year ago and in a years time we will once again take pause, look back and then towards the future.
At this time of year, I often make a collage that allows me to connect with a deeper part of myself as I reflect on the past and look towards the future. During the winter months the intersection of light and dark are more pronounced with shorter days and increased darkness. The collage I’ve posted here is a representation of growth and reaching towards the light, but one can also see that the light reaches towards me shooting small tendrils earthward; this exchange is two-way in much the same way we interact with our students in the classroom. Reflect back on the students whose lives you touched and the hearts you opened, the wisdom you acquired and shared, while acknowledging your own growth and enlightenment.
As you begin the second half of the school year ask yourself, how do I want to shine my light in my classroom and community, and how might I open more to receive the light from my students?