Freedom has a price, but it is always worth paying.
On a personal note, I found myself being grateful for a new plot of freedom today. My divorce was granted after a two and a half year separation and three and half year turbulent, hellish relationship preceding the separation. Six years later I am now legally free of someone, or to be more politically correct, a situation that I found suffocating and depression. Thousands of dollars in legal fees and many tears shed later, I am now free to move forward and live as an individual.
It sounds trite, perhaps, but I feel more patriotic or "American" today than I think I ever have. As an individual now, I have the liberty to my own life and pursuit of happiness. This is a freedom earned with sacrifice: tears, time, dollars, worry, life pursuits put on hold waiting for and workings towards a resolution.
On a professional note, I am starting the year anew. In this year I find myself relishing freedom to plan following a new structure for our bilingual programming. I also have the freedom of space since I am no longer team teaching. I would consider the companionship and collaboration of team-teaching a sacrifice I have endured for the freedom of autonomy and space. I will miss my co-teacher immensely this year, though she will just be up a grade and down the hall.
Professionally and politically, I am recalling a professor I had last summer. Dr. Jean Erdmann and UW-Oshkosh said in lecture, "teaching is a political act." To paraphrase, when you educate a child you are engaged in a political act; you are raising them up rungs on the societal ladder. You are teaching them to think to make critical political decisions in the future. You are empowering them with knowledge, to not be controlled by a tyrant. I think some of the meeker classmates found this statement a bit jarring, but I found it to be inspiring and true. I often think of her lecture when my inner "chi" isn't sufficing and I need to seek out my inner "Che." Even moreso in this political climate I am inspired to teach to the best of my ability. I have seen where ignorance has brought us, and democracy won't hold on unless new generations of citizens are here to revitalize it with intelligent debate based in fact, and not inflammatory rhetoric based in fear.
In closing I am reminded of one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals: One Day More from Les Miserables.
One day to a new beginning
Raise the flag of freedom high!Every man will be a kingEvery man will be a kingThere's a new world for the winningThere's a new world to be wonDo you hear the people sing?
This day is done. Now there is a new beginning for me, there is a new beginning for my Kinder students, and maybe a new beginning bubbling below the ballot boxes in this politically charged time.