In undergrad the sheer overwhelming shadow of my own indecisiveness was like a nightmare to me. I couldn’t determine a major. A career. An interest. What book to read. The only thing I was ever sure about was my love for friend chicken and french fries, love that deep does not waiver.
The culture of making life changing decisions at the delicate age of 18 was strong at Carolina. I mean like stiff arm strong. Students came into Carolina with their entire lives planned out. And here I sit. I declared a major on March 11, 2011. The deadline was March 12th. I declared history. Why you might ask? Because I had already taken quite a few history classes. I hated having to make a decision.
My own indecisiveness made me uncomfortable. We were expected to have it all figured out. A major, graduate school, a career… And I just couldn’t get there.
It wasn’t until relatively recently that this overcast shadow disappeared from my life. I no longer convulse and lose my words when people ask me what I plan to do with my degree. I no longer have a small heart-attack when people ask me for my plans after graduation. I will hit you with the absolute most confident “I DON’T KNOW.” #smooth Straight.Like.That.
Now, my new-found comfort in my own indecisiveness has it’s own woes. It is true, I know not where the good Lord is going to lead my path. But chances are, it will be in education.
I stand here now as a elementary teacher transferred school counselor transferred Native youth activist coupled with a passion for education. My identity has been molded and shaped by each step that came before.
Three day’s ago I wanted to be the Director of the US Department of Education, two days ago I wanted to be a principal, yesterday I wanted to be a lawyer and today I want to be a teacher.
But a teacher in a different realm. In a different way. In a transformed world.
If I were a teacher I would greet each of my students each morning to know that they were welcomed and loved.
If I were a teacher I would schedule weekly check-in meetings with my kiddos to understand how I can best server them holistically.
If I were a teacher I would ensure that my curriculum was infused with passion, love, music, laughter, hands-on activities, accurate history and social justice.
If I were a teacher I would charge my students to be the change in the world, not when they were older but right at that very moment.
If I were a teacher I would fight for social justice in all aspects of my students educational attainment.
If I were a teacher I would strive to beautifully merge the culture of my students with the curriculum in my classroom. We would discuss the measurements needed to make a 16 layer chocolate cake, the perfect conditions to shuck corn, the history of the Lumbee people, the stories of boarding schools, ways to be financially stable and the importance and value in our oral stories.
If I were a teacher we would spend our time completing projects to give back to our community, to learn about our community.
If I were a teacher we would have ‘Foodie Friday’s’ once a month, we would bring in sweet grandma’s to teach us how to roll out ‘payysta’ (sound it out…) and make homemade biscuits.
If I were a teacher we would write letters to the President and our Congressmen expressing our concerns and the issues our communities are facing.
If I were a teacher we would spend time in the field, discussing just the right conditions and time to plant beans, corn and ‘baca. We would understand the benefit of these crops to our people and our community.
If I were a teacher…
I still dream of this classroom. These students and being this teacher.
But this classroom, these students and me being this teacher is absolutely intangible in today’s educational system. So, in order to be this teacher, I will gladly accept a one-room school house on a a grassy hill, surrounded by daises, with just me and my kiddos.