Tag Archives: personal narrative

Leading Urban Students into Literate Lives (LULL): A Serial Teaching Narrative

When Your Purpose Changes

(Installment#1)

LULL icon

With grace and power,

it calls me to its domain.

Once inside, overwhelmed.

I snuggled inside the covers.  My imagination began its transformation of the tree-shaped shadow hovering outside my window into a grizzly bear, the passing cars whizzing by on the main road into low snarls, and the wavering branches tapping on the glass into reaching claws.

My nine-year-old frame compacted against my sister’s.  She growled in half-sleep for me to move.  We’re the epitome of sibling rivalry.  Why would Goliath help David, especially when the rivals constantly got each other into trouble?  As I plotted pranks for revenge, sleep embraced me.  A dream emerges.

Dressed in white and illuminated in light, a group of people and I stood upon a hill facing a crowded valley.  A voice bellowed: we would affect many lives in a positive way.  I didn’t know what I would do. The dream scared me more than the bear.

At first, I wondered if I was having one of those psychedelic trips from too much sugar.  Those banana-flavored Now-a-Laters were addictive.

Then, I thought otherwise. At the time, writing was my first love, my escape hatch.

I woke up and accepted the dream as a sign to stop being so mean to my sister.  Little did I know, not only writing would enable me to make a change.

I squinted at the window again. The bear was gone.

Passion does 360o

Desire to teach formed by truth:

It’s more than learning.

My AP English teacher sauntered towards me, her asymmetric bob brushing against her cheeks.  Her manicured hands clutched my most recent short story.  She was the sole audience and trusted reviewer of my writing, the one who instilled confidence in my budding craft.

After my teacher complimented me, she peered over her glasses with the signature stare.  The no-nonsense look—arched eyebrows, attitudinal eyes, and ambiguous smile—always segued into words of counseling or chastisement.

She asked me why I had stated my collegial ambition as a secondary English teacher in the senior section of the yearbook.  Broadcast or newspaper journalism should be my choice.  My shyness held my tongue hostage.

How could I explain that she ignited my spark for teaching?

Besides, my family wanted me to pursue a career that would make me self-sufficient and offer stability.  Anything associated with writing was not on their list of options.  Law, engineering, accounting, nursing, and teaching—those careers were top choices for me, in my family’s eyes.

This woman exemplified and extended the universal definition of teaching as an art and a science. She had a demeanor to command respect, a sense of with-it-ness defying the parameters of human sight, an ability to integrate creativity with critical writing, an expectation of nothing less than excellence, and a flair for fashion coupled with infectious wit bringing literature to life.

When I looked at her, I discovered my purpose.

I wanted to transform a beloved subject into a fun, challenging, and life-changing experience.  But at seventeen, I didn’t know how to articulate my sentiment.

Bowing my head and fidgeting with our literary calvacade projects, I murmured, “I want to be like you.”

She smiled back and expressed her desire for me to use my writing talent to change the world.  My teacher envisioned a world containing millions of people connected through media.  As I walked out of the room, my shoulders hunched, my Jheri curls shielding my face, my vision consisted of millions of children connected by the yearning to learn.

One of them needed change more than the other.

Copyrighted by Alexandra Caselle. All rights reserved for all original writing and works of Alexandra Caselle.

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