Education is one of those fields that makes the wasting of time an art. I was reminded of this unfortunate fact Monday and Tuesday as I sat in "Assessment Training". Actually, it wasn't assessment training, but rather training on how to give assessment training. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. You would think they would first train you in assessment, then let you go practice it, and then train you to train others, but, once again, I am reminded of the words of wisdom shared with me by my mentor the first year I taught. In a moment of overwhelming frustration, I sat in her room after school, laid my head on one of the desks, and told her I just didn't understand the administration. Her response:
Now, now, now. You're thinking logically. We are in education. We don't do that here.
At the time, her statement made me laugh, but with each passing year, I find more and more truth beneath her sarcasm.

Fortunately, in the mist of the poorly received professional development, many of us trapped in the meat-locker-of-a-conference-room managed to find some relief by reading some of the student work posted on the walls. Apparently someone's classes were working on slam poetry, and it appeared that they had taken some of their best lines, written them on large sheets of butcher paper, and posted them around the room. In the midst of the somewhat overdone similes and metaphors, one short line stood out, and my eyes kept wondering back to it through the course of the day:
Live without excuses, love with no regrets.
--Emily F.

Oh, Emily. If only we could all be as wise as 6th-grade-you. If only we all could live our lives honestly and in such a way that excuses were not necessary when we fail to live up to our dreams. If only we all could remember what it was like to live our lives in excited anticipation of the future instead of the dread that comes from too frequently looking to the past. Imagine the freedom, to actually live life and know love...and not worry, not be afraid.

You, Emily, taught me more with your one line than the rest of those two days combined, of the previous 2 months, I think. I can't remember the name of our presenter. I can't remember 90% of what she felt was so important she typed it up in PowerPoint slides.

But I remember your imperative, Emily. And though I may stumble from time to time, I'm going to do my damnedest to follow your advice.