"Some days I still don't know what to do." -- John Mellencamp
I am a middle-aged man who has been in his career for a quarter century, and I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. I get jazzed, pumped, stoked about writing fiction, writing nonfiction, teaching Latin, any kind of public speaking, working with children, working with teens, working with college students, encouraging just about anyone in the discovery and fulfillment of his or her potential, engaging in research, having philosophical discussions, exploring translation theory, actually translating, composing poetry, discussing educational theory, advocating for the classical liberal arts education, getting into the nitty gritty of Classical philology, thinking in theology, exploring leadership issues, equipping leaders, mentoring teachers, and truly the list goes on and on. Perhaps more appropriate than the Mellencamp lyric would be this from Steppenwolf. "Take the world in a love embrace. Fire all of your guns at once and explode into space."
My mind was filled with such thoughts as I flew into the face of Apollo, heading east to a conference with fellow state teachers of the year in Princeton, New Jersey. 2014 has been a year like no other. From the banquet in January at which I was honored as the 2014 Indian Teacher of the Year and was presented by Governor Pence with our state's highest honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash, my experiences as an educator have grown ever broader. I have participated with the finest group of teacher-leaders from across the nation as my fellow STOYs and I have met in Washington, D.C. for work with Department of Education and to meet with the President of the United States. I have been a part of a national education policy forum, also, in D.C., and had my creative fires stoked white hot with a week at International Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. I have spoken before our state's General Assembly, at universities across Indiana, and have become involved with Indiana University's groundbreaking INSPIRE program in the School of Education.
Yet as I flew from the dark, early-morning skies of Indianapolis for the Next Steps conference with my fellow STOYs in Princeton, I found myself reading an article in Classical Outlook, the journal of the American Classical League. It was pure academia, and once again, my fires were stoked. It spoke of leadership lessons in the war writings of Julius Caesar. Any of my students reading this will immediately see why I was so excited. Leadership is a primary theme in all of our classes.
So which is it for me? Am I primarily a Latin scholar, a high school teacher, or an educational leader? Is my main thing writing or teaching or leading? The answer is a simple and resounding yes. I am blessed to live the life I love, a life filled with a kaleidoscope of wonders as I travel on the shared journey of discovery that is education.