Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Final Friday: The Possibilities are Endless!

The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.” 
Emily Dickinson

Wow! Another year has come and--almost--gone! Is it just me, or was this one the quickest yet? In our district, this past Friday was our final day of student attendance. Whether you finished last week, well before that, or have yet to finish school for the year, Thanks to teachers everywhere for another amazing year of engaging, inspiring, and empowering our students, yourselves, and each other. 

At this time of year, I often read about graduation speeches that have been delivered during these weeks. I, myself, have made a few over the years. Typically, when speaking to young people preparing to embark upon their next stage of life, I mention the themes of dreams, success, and possibilities. For our students, their possibilities are truly endless; thank you for sparking this sense of possibility within them throughout the year by kindling their imagination as Dickinson describes in the above quote.

A favorite book I used to read to 5th graders leaving a K-5 school where I served is Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom, & Wishes by Susan V. Bosak. Like Dickinson, she encourages young people to dream great dreams and to follow through on these by believing, doing, and thinking. It is not enough to merely dream of future greatness, however; we must also apply many hours of disciplined thought and disciplined action so that we realize our dreams. Students around the country learned this from their teachers this year and will be well served, many years hence, when their “possible fuses” burn down to the point of ignition--with astounding results!

For some of us, we are approaching a different stage of dreaming, a stage shared by Bosak in her book:

I have dreamed a lifetime of dreams
I reached many of them
Not all, but many
Many also changed along the way.
What I have most are fine memories
When you're as old as I am,
You still dream dreams
But they're different.
Mostly they're wishes for those who follow.

Like most passionate educators, I spend long hours at work and still have many goals I wish to accomplish both personally and professionally. Honestly, though, even more important to me at this point in my life are the wishes I have for my daughter and for all young people, including the kids who attended our schools, learning alongside us this year. Like me, I know that at times this school year, dedicated educators subordinated in importance their own time, interests, efforts, and dreams to those of the students with whom they interacted each day. Thank you for making such sacrifices in order to help make our students' future dreams come true at some point long down the road.

As Dickinson suggests, “possible” is indeed a long fuse, one which we must ignite and keep aflame each and every day if we are to succeed. This applies not only to us, but also to our students. To our classroom teachers I say: The work you have done this year was important and noble work; I hope your final days of school are/were among the best ones yet and that you enjoy a summer filled with laughter, love, continued learning...and imagining the possibilities. Doing these things are ways we Teach (and Live) with Passion!


  1. Jeff I love the line from the book, "but mostly they're wishes for those who follow." I think, as you mention, we are each in different stages of dreaming, but regardless we must dream. We mustn't forget how to fly. If we ever do then we will surely grow old. I think sometimes it is just as rewarding, if not more so, to help others find ad chase their dreams.