(Photo credit: Vero Villa)
Just about this time last year, I was hiking over the Pyrenees, starting a 500-mile walking pilgrimage across Spain. Eight months ago I was dancing on the beaches of Thailand with thousands of strangers under the full moon. Five months ago I was taking shots of snake blood and motorbiking down the coast of Vietnam a la Top Gear. Three months ago I was watching the sunrise from a hot air balloon over the fairy-chimney-shaped rocks of Turkey.
No job, no responsibilities, no deadlines.
And yet for some reason, in April I signed away that life of travel and freedom so I could spend last week in a meeting room in hot and humid Houston, attending sessions on the planning and execution of middle school history objectives.
People told me I was crazy when I left the classroom at the end of the 2013-2014 school year to backpack solo around the world…and an equal number of people told me I was crazy when I decided to come back.
But the children were waiting, the job offer was there, and here I am.
At my KIPP onboarding (terrifyingly called KIPPnotizing—but that’s another story), Mike Feinberg referenced Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken to symbolize the difficult choice our students make when they choose the long hours and high expectations of attending a KIPP public charter school.
While I believe in Mike’s interpretation, I think it’s just as important for us to remind our kids that not all decisions are as binary. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—as a 2010 corps member and a world traveler; as a new-to-the-classroom Big KIPPster and an experienced teacher with three years under my belt; as a Connecticut Yankee and a lover of all things Texas—I’ve been taking both roads my entire life.
I went on an incredible adventure last year, but that doesn’t mean this year will be any less incredible. I am back to being Ms. Garvey, and I can’t wait to share this year’s adventure with you.