As we come to the end of yet another year and look ahead to the next one, what are we to make of this experience? Is it one more review of what happened and how we responded? Is it one more time to make promises to ourselves that next year will be different? Or could it be an opportunity to dig a little deeper, take some time to perhaps consider a few commitments that go beyond resolutions and promises? I would not presume to tell you what you might do or even what you could do for that’s entirely up to you. What I can do is to tell you that you have choices that you might not have previously even thought about or considered.
As for me, here’s what I am at least planning and laying some ground work to see what I might do that will be different this coming year. I spent some time thinking about what I could do that could possibly make a difference and contribute to the learning of others. I sought out a particular population, kids who had struggled through high school and had come to a point where continuing to pursue the typical college or university track was not much of a reality. They did however find a way to sign up for some courses designed to prepare them for the world of meaningful work in several fields – completion of the high school diploma if that was still a need; business programs in accounting and human resources; criminal justice programs and emergency response management; medical programs in numerous areas; culinary arts; and technical programs in several industries.
Many of these students need work in the area of what is commonly referred to as English and more specifically the skills associated with proficiencies in reading, writing and communication – all of which are necessary for advancing in any of the aforementioned fields. As a somewhat “retired” educator with years of teaching experience at many levels, I found this opportunity to be an exciting possibility and so interviewed for a position as an adjunct instructor in the general education courses. The next step is a sample teaching observation to see if I can connect with these students and vice-versa so that I can be selected to join the team.
I have long been a proponent that much of the college hype is a myth for many students and that one does not need a bachelor’s degree or more to carve out a successful career. Furthermore, we know that the majority of our population depends on those workers who fill the roles that support others whether in technology, business, medicine or many other fields. If I can make a contribution and help these students raise the level of their performance, so they can look forward to a satisfying and fulfilling career, I will have served a new purpose in this new year. It’s back to the beginning, passion and purpose beyond ourselves. It’s in the last paragraph on the last page in my little book, Seven Decades: A Learning Memoir. (River House Press, 2013)*
- “Hopefully you are following your passion and purpose beyond yourself. That is what has worked for me. I commend it to you for your careful consideration as you continue on your own journey of lifelong learning.” Page 87 Seven Decades: A Learning Memoir