Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reflecting on my Vocation

So the past week at my school it was Faculty Chapel week. See, working at a private school, there are definite religious overtones, as the Chapel is a big part of the school schedule and community. While I was initially skeptical of this, the chapel services are multi-faithed, so they include reasons from not only Christian but Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and secular sources.

Anyway, as part of the Faculty Chapel week, they asked for faculty members to make short (3 minute) reflections on their vocation. So of course, I thought that I would take a chance to chyme in with my thoughts. In typical Glen fashion, I decided that I would relate the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Napoleon Dynamite to my career.

Here is a copy of my speech, enjoy...


So I was asked to come up here and reflect on my vocation. Well I have only been teaching for a few months, as opposed to a few years or decades like some of my esteemed colleagues sitting to my right, I don’t quite have as much to reflect on. Instead, I will reflect on why I decided to become a teacher in the first place.

When I was a kid, I had four heroes who I held above everyone else. They were not Michael Jordan, or Wayne Gretzky like other boys my age, they weren’t my teachers, or even my parents. No, no, no my heroes were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Every Saturday morning, I would wake up early, grab a bowl of Count Chocula, sit down in front of the television, and I would watch my heroes save the world from the forces of evil, yet again. I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be just like them. But no matter how many times I asked my parents didn’t buy me a katana or send me to ninja school, they had other plans…public school.

When I was there, I was never able to sharpen my bo staff or numchuck skills, so I had to learn how to fight evil some other way. It was then that my teachers armed me with two very powerful weapons to fight against the forces of evil; they armed me with hope and compassion.
Over the course of my life, I realized just how powerful hope and compassion can be in overcoming evil at every turn, and I believe that there is nothing that they can’t overcome.
Hope will cure diseases and prevent environmental catastrophes.

Compassion will unite nations and bring about peace.

So while I am here teaching function or fractions, in true ninja style, that is just a cover. What I really want to teach are hope and compassion. And if I am able to get that through to even one student over the course of my career then maybe, just maybe one of you would be able to cure cancer, or end poverty. Then I will get just what I have always wanted, I’ll get to be just like me heroes, I’ll get to save the world. And I’ll be able to do it without a katana or turtle shell.


Until next time,


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