It’s easy to get inspired when you’re taught by the greats. No, I’m not talking about Milton, Shakespeare, or Keats. I’m talking about local heavyweights, Jackson, Hayes, and Waits. Yes, as a student at Southfield-Lathrup High School from 1996-2000, I was taught by literary heavyweights…scholars ahead of their time and their colleagues; scholars who inspired me to teach. So when I got my first teaching job at my old alma mater, you can only imagine the rush of emotions I felt when I found myself among the ranks of those I looked up to. I was told to call them my their first names (I can’t do that, I thought) and I did. Two out three were still there when I returned, and today only one remains.
The “heavyweights” quickly became my mentors and friends. We taught together, shared ideas & frustrations, and honed in on our craft. But what surprised me the most was when they came to me for ideas or help. Me? No really, me? I suppose I had taken for granted the fact that I was a college student during the age of blogs, wikis, and podcasts. To me these were just various forms of technology to get students interested and involved in the lesson, but to my veteran colleagues, these were foreign words. I had something meaningful & awesome to share with the people who had already given me so much. At that moment I felt like we had all come full circle. I was the teacher, and for a few moments during the school year, they were my pupils. They learned from me and I from them.