Would it make you feel better to know that you are in great company? Sandra Day O’Conner, retired Supreme Court Justice, couldn’t get a job right out of law school. In fact, it was so difficult for her to find something she went ahead and worked for free…sharing an “office” space with the firm’s secretary until they had enough business to bring her on staff.
Hearing her tell her story at #ASCD13 last weekend was so inspiring. Not only because of that fact but because of her passion that is still evident for what she does. Even from the bench she saw that there was such a misunderstanding of the court systems in America, that she feels it is her civic duty to continue to improve our nation in some fashion. She founded iCivics, designed to prepare young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials. Why iCivics? She wittily said we “have i-everything else, why not iCivics?”…earning one of many chuckles from the crowd.
Other tidbits of terrific-ness?
- 2 out 3 students scored below standards on citizenship in middle schools, only 1 out 3 adults can identify the three branches of government
- Her favorite way to get items discussed civilly? Over lunch at her house.
- She feels that young people need to be aware of current events, be able to mix it all up and have a conversation.
- There are great opportunities for males and females to be involved in politics, but that passion has to be developed while you’re young.
Her number one piece of advice to students? Be able to read fast and write well. The orator kept trying to steer the conversation to her impact on female success in this country but she wouldn’t go there, choosing instead to focus on what educators could do to ignite the passion in their students to love learning. She chose to go to law school because of one of her undergrad classes. That professor inspired her…and she became the first female supreme court justice.
What could you inspire your students to be? Hopefully about something so passionate that even when retired, they are still fighting for it!