This week the fall semester starts at the college where I teach. Once again I begin another four months where I have the opportunity to shape minds and lives. Generally my fervor and zeal about teaching reach a fevered pitch around this time in the semester that can best be described in one word:
But this semester something has changed. I have an enthusiasm for teaching I haven’t felt in a long while. Part of it is because I applied for a new job over the summer, one I thought I wanted. But when I realized all the concessions I would have to make – compared to my current job, especially in terms of the number of hours I would have to work each week – I decided to stay where I was. The process of applying and interviewing for a new job showed me I have a lot for which to be grateful where my job is concerned.
But moreover, one of my colleagues sent me this – a poem by Taylor Mali entitled “Totally Like Whatever, You Know?” It’s brilliant, funny, and borderline life-changing for me.
Ours is an “aggressively inarticulate generation” – unwilling or unable to speak with conviction about much of anything. I realize I have the opportunity to make a difference. To fight this inarticulation. And teach others how to fight it as well.
So I begin this semester with a renewed since of purpose.
To implore, to entreat, to challenge.
To speak with conviction.