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Find Your Avocation

"Whatever career you may choose for yourself - doctor, lawyer, teacher - let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it.  Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights.  Make it a central part of your life.  It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher."   ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today in class, students blogged about Martin Luther King.  I had promised to blog along with them, but then various duties got in the way.  Several hours later, I'm catching up.

My #reflectiveteacher friends are blogging today about choosing education as a profession.  The two are related, I think, if one reflects on MLK's words.

I cannot imagine another life for myself.  I love school.  Showing up at school makes me feel better.  Almost instantly.  I love to connect with students and hear their stories.  I love to witness their progress.  I love to grapple with ideas along side them.  I love to problem solve.  School is, in many ways, my "happy place."

However, it isn't all sunshine and roses.  My students face real challenges.  Many of them struggle to learn and remember.  Some have been looked down upon by others because of their socio-economic status, their race or their disability.  

As a Quaker school, we embrace equality.  Fighting for civil rights is something we take seriously.  And I believe it does make us a better school.

So would I encourage a young person to pursue a career in education?  Maybe.  If teaching was a passion and they wanted to dedicate themselves to equality, then certainly.  

The beauty of being a teacher is the potential that I witness in all of my students.  I sometimes refer to this as their spark.  Dr. King calls it their avocation.  And, like Dr. King, I always encourage students to find a place in the world that allows them to share their spark every day.  If that place is a school - great!  But if that place is somewhere that inspires them to fight for civil rights every day - even better.