In case you're living under a rock, or otherwise deep in the rabbit hole of starting school, you're fully aware that next Monday, North America will experience the celestial phenomenon knows as a total solar eclipse.
I make no claim to being an expert on total solar eclipses, nor do I hold advanced degrees in astrophysics or celestial mechanics. I am not an astro enthusiast or eclipse chaser (which is apparently a thing).
In fact, despite having barely passed Astronomy in college (in a thinly veiled attempt at avoiding math), I am about as ignorant as one can be when it comes to this particular subject matter.
As long as we're being honest, I thought that looking into a solar eclipse and it causing blindness was an “old wives’ tale.” You know, like waiting thirty minutes after eating to swim or flossing daily? But, it turns out to be true. Evidence of why I shouldn’t be allowed to teach children, as I would be the guy that says, “Hey everyone, let’s go check out the eclipse... Be sure to bring your cell phones for some selfies.”
I am told I experienced this phenomenon before in my life, but I was either ignorant or unaware, as I do not remember it. Perhaps that is because back then, I saw the event as an issue of alignment between the sun and moon. But now, with time and perspective, I understand it to be a powerful opportunity to feel connected to a shared experience. It is a chance to see the power and size of the universe and experience it on a grand scale. A chance to understand the yin and yang of relationships physical, spiritual, and emotional. A chance to embrace being small. A chance to be reminded that there is no shadow without light or light without shadow.
This celestial event represents a great learning opportunity for all of us in this crazy profession. It reminds me that in teaching there are times of light and times of darkness and that they are all cyclical. It reminds me that while the good and bad days stand in contrast to one another, they are both a requisite part of this profession. It reminds me that with time and perspective, my impact on young people only grows and that looking forward to the year ahead is more important than reflecting on the ones of my past.
Yes, Monday’s solar event will serve as a reminder that while I can't change my students' past, I can change their future.
Here’s to forward thinking and Monday’s total eclipse of the start.