One of the key reasons I was so excited to come to ASCD was the opportunity to see and hear Maya Angelou speak. I genuinely considered this a bucket list moment.
From the moment she stepped out and opened her talk with scripture and a sing, I was hooked. This feisty, almost 85 year old woman, held the crowd in the palm of her hand from the start. Her story, which she shared a brief amount of, is an inspiration to anyone who works with children. She was witty, she was honest, she is
Anyone who has ever discounted a student, for any number of reasons, should hear Ms. Angelou’s tale. Raped at nine by her mother’s boyfriend, she named her attacker only to have him turn up dead the next day. Believing that she caused the death by speaking his name, she fell mute. She was poor, black, living in poverty in Arkansas..and now mute. How easy would it have been for her to be written off? A cautionary tale to all teachers…
At sixteen, she was a single mother in San Francisco. At every point she was down, she mentioned having a rainbow in the cloud. There was always someone in her life that encouraged her, that helped her see who and what she could accomplish. Her “Uncle Willy” was that role model for her, always encouraging others.
Her message centered around support, encouragement, and recognizing what effect you can have on others. She wouldn’t be where she was without those who were there for her..
Angelou closed by calling for educators to recognize their power: ”We are the possible. We are the true. We are the miracle.”
This was such a powerful message for me to hear, being surrounded by the “rainbows” of my ASCD peers. I look to many of the people that I was sitting with for inspiration, to give advice, even to challenge me. (I’m working on that…) It was a monumental moment to hear this amazing woman, one who inspires millions…one who was asked to write an inauguration poem for Clinton…is talking to educators and calling them to recognize their power.
“We are the possible. We are the true. We are the miracle.”
Connectivity, connections, relationships…be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.
rain cloud avoidN,