Full Circle

I have taken more than 20 trips around the sun since I first walked into Danville Montessori School, knowing little about what awaited me. I left feeling enormously grateful for the education I was afforded and have carried nuggets of the Montessori philosophy with me ever since.

Now, it is with great excitement that I share that I will be embarking on another Montessori journey in just a few short weeks — to become a teacher. I will spend most of my summer learning how to craft the Montessori environment and then spend next year as an intern in a classroom full of 25 four- and five-year-olds starting their own Montessori experience. I will have the opportunity to work side-by-side a veteran teacher while actively applying what I learned in the classroom to see how all of the Montessori pieces come together.

Despite feeling like I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream, I couldn’t have told you this was something I wanted five years ago. I’m still not confident that it’s what I want to do for the next 40 years, but I am absolutely certain that it’s a step in the right direction. So here’s to new adventures and bringing life full circle!

First Steps

Months ago, I wrote a post committing to act on my Moments of Obligation moving forward. I am excited to share that I will be able to do so far sooner than I planned. While it pains me to leave the incredible students that I’ve worked with in my current role, in just three short weeks, I will be working in a local school.

I will be in a third grade classroom, assisting the teacher, at a local private school which espouses the values of scholarship, leadership and service. I will have the opportunity to study how a school with enormous resources educates and consider how to bring the best of it to a larger audience. I will get to reflect on whether impacting education through teaching at this level is the best path for me. Immersed in a completely new environment, I will get to analyze how my experiences can impact students and learn what new experiences I need to try.

In some ways, this is a baby step. It’s an opportunity to see if I actually have it as figured out as I like to think; to test the waters. In other ways this is a huge step, one that is entirely outside the comfort zone created by my life experiences and education. But, my heart and my head are telling me that it is the right direction, moving me closer to fulfilling my dreams and making my impact on the world. And I am lucky that I can carry with me attitudes I learned from fabulous students; perspectives of learning, openness, growth, and a willingness to relentlessly take on challenges for the sake of a better world.

The BHAG

Recently, my partner shared with me a concept they talked about at his office – the Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or a BHAG. The concept originated in business, and simply suggests that companies should pursue a vision that may not necessarily seem possible, especially to the rest of the world. As we talked about this, I realized that I have a BHAG of my own:

To change what education looks like for future generations of students.

I have known for years that I am here for this primary purpose, and though I’ve taken some sideways steps, I am finally very close to a point in my life where I can delve into work that will help me achieve this BHAG directly. Which is why I’m here with you, to document my journey, share and explore ideas, connect with new people and perspectives, and to publicly commit to this Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.
-Lee Iacocca

Fortunately, I’m starting from a path that is not too terribly far from the one I want to be on. I currently work in student affairs, with a focus on leadership development and service. As part of my current position, I am fortunate to have a responsibility that keeps my BHAG front and center in my daily life – getting to coordinate a mentoring program for local K-12 students and the students at my University. Finding connections to the problem that is the education system within that program isn’t difficult, but I consistently see links in the other areas of my work, and I plan to explore some of those here as well.