I was having a brief chat with my niece this morning. By brief I mean a ninety-minute conversation as we both multi-tasked over the phone. She is a teacher to a group of exceptionally talented 14–18-year-old students. One of the things that fuel her passion, is the moments she gets to create what she termed “Authentic Memories.”
I was taken aback by the term. Aren’t all memories authentic? But as I listened to her carry on about the career defining experiences, I realized what she meant. Teaching is one of those professions that require passion by the truck load, and like most teachers, she is incentivized by the experiences she gets to create with her students.
An entire wall in her classroom is dedicated to those authentic moments. The happy ones; the very sad ones; and the ones that have been the catalyst for change. The pictures and ‘projects’ are all submitted by past and present students and hold an incredibly special place in her heart. She encourages them to grab hold of opportunities which present themselves, and to overcome their fears.
Memories can open the window of curiosity which enables new experiences.
“You never get back a missed opportunity” reads one of the signs on her wall of memories. Her students seem to meditate on that line the most. It is the reason she keeps the wall going every year. Though the faces change, the memories linger, and they inspire.
“The wall opens the window of curiosity for my new students…’ she tells me… ‘those old photos and drawings, or even the wall of dedication to a dear student I lost to cancer, every single one of them can become the spark for the lightbulb moment in their learning experience.”
I wondered to myself, how many authentic memories I had buried away. Some of them led down the rabbit hole of regret, but many are so vivid, they came to life the moment I entered the room of hidden recollections. Memories can be weird sometimes. I once read a quote about memories somewhere that said, ‘they make you smile when you remember moments of sadness, or they can make you cry when you remember the times you laughed.’
I hope we can all create memories that inspire an entire generation.
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