Monday, August 8, 2011

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

 Bridge Grambin by Michael Tischendorf

Today, my district starts the new school year. A new school year holds much promise, anxiety, and hope. I can imagine that many of the young children that will flood our school doors will feel this same mix of trepidation and excitement.

We can talk about curriculum and technology and 21st century skills; but, I think the job of all educators comes down to one task: preparing young people to become successful adults.

My second year of teaching (1996), I attended one of my first educational conferences. At the end of one particular session, the speaker recited a poem from memory. At the end of the poem he became choked up with emotion. I can't remember the speaker, but I've never forgotten the poem.

The poem is called THE BRIDGE BUILDER by William Allen Dromgoole. The longer I am in education, the more this poem resonates with me.

Here's to all the teachers who are building bridges.

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim-
That sullen stream held no fears for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting strength with your building here.
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way.
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build you this bridge at eventide?"

The builder lifted his old gray head.
"Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him."

-WILL ALLEN DROMGOOLE

QUESTION:  What memories come to your mind when you think about beginning a new year in school?

1 comment:

arnyslight said...

First of all, that name is awesome...like it came out of The Lord of the rings or harry potter! LOL...

2nd. My memory of a new school year always involved a neck cramp...from looking a the top of each door to see where my classes where....good times, good times..