Got a favorite college team? If you went to a state university — or even if you know someone who did — I’ll bet you do.
This is my University of Arizona Wildcats baseball cap. If you know anything about college sports, they aren’t exactly the team to beat. But I do have one reason to wear it…
I attended UofA for one year.
Yup, just my freshman year. But I fell in love with the school, so I eventually bought this cap and have been wearing it for years. (not too easy to find a UofA cap outside of Arizona!)
Now, all of a sudden, I am halfway across the country from dusty Tucson, AZ, and I have had a ton of comments on this cap. From a stranger standing in line at a coffee shop in Fort Worth to a swim mom at the Texas State Champs in Austin, I get a Bear Down! comment out of the blue. I turn around to find a smiling alum nodding to my cap, followed by a conversation that takes me back 13(ish) years to being fresh out of high school and moving out of my parents’ house.
Why does alma mater… um, matter?
It makes me wonder, though:
What’s so special about this school? or any school? What draws people together like that? I wear a pair of New Balance shoes, but I don’t get comments from fellow New Balancers. No nostalgia there. So what’s so special?
I could point to a lot of things, but with education on my mind, let me try to connect that one. If you’ve been to any educator’s professional development training, you have definitely been given the assignment to reflect on your favorite teachers. Even if you haven’t, do it now.
- What makes her your favorite?
- What makes him memorable?
- Even now, can you name the teacher and the impact they had?
So it seems education — and particularly educators — have a profound influence on their students at any and every age. And college — especially when one leaves home to attend — strikes at a formative and impressionable point in life.
…every word that comes out of my mouth, every look I give my students and every inflection in my tone has the potential to last a lifetime. That’s intimidating.
This makes the college educator’s impact all the more important.
While I consider my cap, I am struck by the fact that, as a teacher, every word that comes out of my mouth, every look I give my students and every inflection in my tone has the potential to last a lifetime. That’s intimidating.
Just as I still wear my apparel from a single 10-month period of my life, I still carry something of every teacher I have ever sat under; as will my future students.
Get a cap!
So I want to be an educator.
I want to be the one who must stand up and carefully craft my words, my reactions, my tone, my personal interactions and my mental discipline.
I want to be the one who controls the potentially life-long effects my teaching will carry.
I think it’s worth the extra responsibility.
I think it’s worth the risk.
I don’t have any snappy quotes or tweetable anecdotes, but every time I get a comment on my cap, I commit myself to be an educator all over again.
Do you have a cap? Do you have a trigger to bring you back to center when center seems like a long way off? If not, go buy your alma mater’s best cap and flaunt it!