Langhston Hughes gracefully attempted to answer the pivotal question, “what happens to a dream deferred?”
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
We know that unanswered dreams, unnoticed skills, and unattended ambitions fade, and, in that fading, the world is denied an insane amount of incredible light. But the question still remains: what happens to a dream achieved?
I’ve recently gathered with fellow novice teachers to share testimonials of our daily middle school struggles. Both teachers, the king and the bohemian, teach ELA, so our stories and struggles are, as we found them to be, quite similar. Having traveled through the assignment-ridden days of our college careers together, we have entered this new world of adulthood and career-hood hand in hand. The bohemian teaches 7th and 8th grade while his highness teaches 7th. During a time in which we were to be celebrating our endeavors and relishing in the ample resources provided for us, we found ourselves lost in the hustle and bustle of daily routines, of SGO’s, of lesson plans and objectives, of the CCCS and Danielson, and everything in between. We found ourselves drowning while everyone around us was setting sail for bigger and better things.
In retrospect, holding on to each other as our anchors brought us down was exactly what we needed… at that moment. We needed each other. We needed to be heard by others who are going through the same struggles that we are at the exact same time. Although we all have support in our new homes, we needed each other, former zombie kids and current greenhorns in this new and ever changing world. We needed to express every frustration, every anxiety, and every fear that has been holding us back from achieving our very best. Although a negative moment in the big scheme of things, we all needed it.
Later that night, I couldn’t help but think of the flower child and the royal heir. We’ve come so far and yet we have so much farther to go. Are we going to make it? This questioning led me to the perplexing idea that inspired this entry: what happens to a dream achieved?
Although my darlings and I vent and vent and vent, it’s amazing to think how far we’ve come since we met each other months ago (or for Ms. Bohemian, two years ago). We achieved what many told us was impossible. We left college with a wealth of knowledge, courage, and what we hoped was luck, and someone had taken a chance on each one of us. We were welcomed into “homes” of schools filled with skill, support, and most importantly, love for students. Thinking of my own journey, I had achieved what I had set out to do when I was eleven years old, drawing myself as a reading teacher with a book in tow for my fifth grade graduation. I had achieved what Ms. Kathy and I had spent many mornings, study halls, and post-graduation visits discussing over copious amounts of coffee. I had done what I once thought was impossible: I became a teacher.
So, now what? What happens when you’ve achieved the dream? Where do you go from here? I can’t help but hear Eugene Fitzherbert (shout out to all of my Disney kids) remind Rapunzel that she was his new dream. Is it wrong to start to envision the next dream to achieve? I find myself, okay, during some of my hardest moments, envisioning a life ten or so years down the road different from my day to day routine. Is it so wrong of us to think about doing anything other than teaching? Is it bad that we dare to see something else for ourselves even though we are so new to our professions? I can see myself as a counselor in a middle school; I can see myself as an employee of a university with a higher education degree under my belt. Perhaps I’ll run an orientation program one day. With only one marking period of teaching on my resume, when is it appropriate to identify the new dream? When is it right to think of the next step, if there is a next step at all?
I guess this ranting and raving has brought me to this inevitable conclusion: Cinderella was right. A dream is a wish your heart makes. Although I’m a teacher, thus having achieved my dream, there is so much more to it than just the label. Cinderella also never said that the dream was going to come easily and that everything after would be smooth sailing. Continue to put your heart into your dream, teachers, and there’s a good chance that it will lead you to the next scary and overwhelming and incredible step in your journey.
Thanks for reading. Dream on.