November 5, 2010

One Day

And if you have ANY connection to the worldwide education movement that is TFA (Teach for America) you know exactly how that slogan goes...

One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.

I am a member of the 2001 TFA Corps. I taught for two years in my first placement school then went on to help an incredible team of educators (mostly TFA alums themselves) start a small public middle school in the South Bronx of NYC. I spent two years building and leading the math and photography programs at that school before moving on to where I am now, working as a project manager in the field of education technology.

And, if you're a fan of Jane Aronson and her Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) you may be familiar with this phrase:

To transform the lives of orphaned children by taking them out of anonymity and helping them to become healthy, independent, productive members of their communities and around the world.

Because every child deserves a loving, healthy family. To state the obvious my husband and I value the mission of WWO and became acutely aware just a short time after meeting that our future lives together would include adoption. Not because we wanted to save a child, but because we knew that if there came a time at some point in the future when a mother would make the painstaking decision to entrust us to parent her brilliant, beautiful child, that we wanted nothing more than to fulfill that privilege.

So now, more than 9 years later, nearly10 years since our wedding day and 10 years since my first days in the classroom and 3 years since our life changing trip to Ethiopia and 1 year since "completing" our family with little Leni, I'm being called out. Called out by TFA and the global education reform movement in general. Called out by the adoption community and worldwide organizations tasked to challenge the orphan crisis and improve the quality of life for children everywhere. Called out, and big time.

What am I doing today?

Since my days with TFA and IA (international adoption), which for all intensive purposes have not nor will ever end, I seem to have allowed myself to become less and less angry. Less angry about the injustices in education where the playing field is still so not leveled you'd be lucky not to be catapulted off one end if you walk the plank too far, and injustices in the worlds children where the immediate needs of orphanages requesting simple supplies simply aren't being met. I've somehow allowed myself to slip in to a routine that is just, well, just less angry.

It's good to be angry sometimes. It's amazing what you can get done when you're angry. I remember hating hating certain moments of teaching because I knew that despite any amount of effort put forth from my students they would always be at a significant (and I mean SIGNIFICANT) disadvantage when it came to graduating and going on for any sort of college experience. I hated hated walking through orphanages ripe with ringworm and other afflictions easily treatable by over the counter medications you often find being given away for free in American doctors offices. Things made me angry and I moved because of it. And then life, things, became easy. Sure, not without your run of the mill daily challenges but easy nonetheless.

After my experiences teaching and having done a decent amount of travel to the worlds countries it's pretty damn difficult to call my life anything other than easy.

I need to be angry again. To veer from the easy and move to the, movement. Not one day, but today, so that One Day...

10 years ago this kind of feeling landed me starting the best 10 years of my life, teaching, traveling, becoming a parent, twice. It's time to launch the next 10 year plan.


Anonymous said...

I loved reading this. I agree with you in so many ways. As a colleague, I witness the injustice of education daily. As a mother of two internationally adopted children with very different stories, I echo your sentiment surrounding orphans. I look forward to following where your anger turned energy takes you.....hopefully, we can talk this out at some point.

Jill said...

Wow. Awesome post. Until I went to Ethiopia - I was so ignorant. The experience crushed me in a lot of ways (not the adoption part, obviously) but it ultimately was the best thing that ever happened to me. I agree, anger is motivating. And apathy is deadly. I'm so tired of an apathetic world.

Bonny said...

A-MEN! Good, good words. I loved reading this.

Lauren said...

Hiya stranger,

Was just stopping for a moment to catch up on your adventures and this post struck a nerve because I too have been feeling too complacent. I wish I could to go the big DC summit but I have to work. Next time we hang out let's have an angry rant - that will get the juices flowing!