I hear voices. They haunt me. They inspire me. They weigh me down. They lift me up. They hurt me. They help me. Their sound deafens. Their silence resonates. They get lost in the harmony. They emerge from the dissonance. They are there. Always there.
And at the end of things, their presence looms largest as they whisper screams in my ears, reminding me of the burden I carry on my shoulders, of the responsibility I bear for the young whom I serve. And so, it is at the end of things that I listen, but even when I listen, I do not always hear as the signal comes in stereo: left speaker doubt, right speaker certainty–or in my maddest moments, Dolby surround. And so I listen harder, but that does not always help either, for the messages mix, made no more clear through the filter of my reflection. Of course, I could simply unplug the cord, silence the voices by avoiding feedback, but I will not, cannot. For when I reach that point, it is a sign that I will grow no more, and it will be time to retire, time to slip sadly into my cave. But for now, I am still ready to grow. I am still willing to bear the burden, to carry the ghosts of whispers dancing among my ears.
And now at the end of 180, I have new voices visiting me, muddling my mind, as I seek to process all that I have learned this year, as I seek to make better the learning experiences for all my kids moving forward. Last week I asked my kids for some feedback on their year with me.
Left Speaker: “We haven’t learned anything useful or applicable this year.”
Right Speaker: “I personally feel like I learned and grew quite a bit this year, definitely more than I thought I would. At the beginning I wasn’t sure if I’d really learn as much as possible with your project; however, I feel like I learned more in this class than any prior LA class. I had an incredible experience in your class this year.”
What do I do with that? Though the vast majority of the feedback I received came blasting out of the right speaker boosting my confidence, I cannot ignore the lingering uncertainty boomed by the deep bass of the left. Funny how despite its brief moment in the choir, the strength of its reverberating solo seeps deeply into my consciousness, stuck on eternal replay, more pronounced with each repeat. But with each repeat, something stirred, a vague familiarity, a visitor not new, an old acquaintance. Doubt. Hello, old friend. I know you. I need you. I am sorry that I forget that at times. Thank you for always being there. Thank you for keeping me grounded. Thank you for making me grow. Could not do this without you.
I have to remember this. But, alas, I am doomed to repeat my past. I will assuredly let your discord again disrupt the harmony, but then I will remember that you are ultimately necessary for harmony, that you, too, serve a purpose. I hear you. Please keep talking. I am listening. I always will. We are bound.
Happy Monday, all. Cannot believe we are down to 10 days. Crazy.