Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou

Today, I learned of the passing of Maya Angelou.  I had a heartfelt sadness when I heard this news.  It was in college as a lit major that I first encountered Ms. Angelou's work in any depth.  I have yet to find another poet, author, scholar that resonates with me in so many ways on so many levels.  I thought today I would post some of her quotes that bring teaching to mind.

Photographed By Brigitte Lacombe At Dr. Angelou’s Home 
In Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." I've posted about my belief in this with a similar quote.

  • "We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated." Never give up! Hard is okay!

  • "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive." I teach one grade, but my students are, in part, the sum of all their teachers and learning experiences that have come before me.  It is like growing a flower. So, as I spend my year with them, I try to make sure what I add this year is meaningful and positive so that they may bloom even bigger and brighter for next year's teacher.

  • "Nothing will work unless you do." Enough Said!

  • "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." It is so easy to complain, and as of late, I have found myself too often falling into complaining mode.  It took a concentrated effort recently to decide I can complain about what I can't change at work, or I can do what I can to make it work.

  • "You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal.  Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you."  Why so many of us teach.

  • "In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength." Look out over the colors and cultures you see in those little faces and tell me there isn't beauty in diversity!  I live in an area with a great amount of cultural diversity, and it is one of the things I love about my students and community.

  • "I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music." If only our students would!

  • "You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." Why does this make me think of faculty meetings?!

  • "If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love." Or, I would add, the students you teach.  For some, our smile may be the only one they get that day.

I had to come back and edit this post when I realized I forgot to add the Maya Angelou quote that I use most often with my friends.  "When you know better, you do better!" 
Isn't that what education is all about? 

There are so many more thoughts of Maya's that are so inspirational in other, more personal ways.  These few are just some that come to mind for teaching.  If you know of her, but don't know her work that well, I strongly suggest you pick up a book or two. 

A phenomenal woman always, may she rest in peace.


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  2. A phenomenal post about a Phenomenal Woman! Thank you!


    1. Thank you, Sheila. Couldn't let her passing go by and not be noted.