A week ago, my school selected me among several staff members to travel to the Netherlands. I am beyond excited to have been given this rare and wonderful opportunity to attend the educational programs and participate in discussions at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Below is the essay I wrote as part of my application. These words move beyond the page to my very soul. They are my beliefs, my hopes, my dreams. I hope they help you dream, too.
I want to be a world builder, an architect drafting plans for human greatness. I draw inspiration from those who have come before me; their words reaching back through the ether of a dusty page. With this raw material, I form it into dialogue and reflection, and I use it to brush away the ash of anger, insecurity, fear, hate, and war that the world tries to slip under my door. It is the lens through which I see beauty left in this world.
Being an educator gives me the opportunity to share this beauty with others. I could live a thousand lifetimes and not experience the full gamut of joys that come from dedicating one’s life to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. My Dad has an old saying: “The only thing in this world they cannot take from you is your education.” The older I become, the more I read, and the more I see the tribulations in this world increasing, the more I understand its truth.
I believe Anne Frank inherently embraced this truth, and it was through her understanding that an etching of its beauty was placed upon the soul of the world. Even though her talent and proclivity for evoking the human spirit through word was taken too early, she achieved her dream of becoming a writer, and while she may not have wanted it, she became a most wondrous educator. I, too, want my words to matter, to have them leave etchings on the hearts of those I teach. I, too, want the quiet conscience of having done all the good I can to build up my students.
Armed with these beliefs, I want to participate fully in all things to increase my capacity for human greatness. I owe it to the futures of my students to increase their capacity to hope, love, and dream – to be resilient in the face of adversity. I want them to look out the windows of their school and see the beauty that awaits them.