That's what I wrote next to this quote in my copy of Teach Like a Pirate. Admittedly it's an odd response, but Burgess made me stop and take a breath with that thought. I've been striving for personal greatness in my classroom since I first had one, and yet I'll willingly admit to embarrassing and sometimes haunting shortcomings. Sometimes the even bigger challenge though is wondering how my striving is perceived by others. If I were a coffee drinker, I can imagine the conversation Burgess and I would have in a cozy Starbucks' corner.
Dave: Tammy, your greatness in the classroom doesn't negatively impact or inhibit anyone else's opportunity to be great.
Me: (momentary silence) Yeah. (Insert sigh.) You're right.
He is right. I can pursue greatness without the fear of negatively impacting others. I can, but sometimes it doesn't work that way. I feel the pressure. I worry about comparisons. I wonder if some feel intimidated. As crazy as it may sound, at times I even sense a responsibility for the greatness of others. These are unnecessary burdens and why the Burgess thought brings me to a sigh.
Instead, may it bring me, and anyone else who understands where Burgess is coming from, peace and perseverance, knowing that if we continue to gracefully aim for the highest of standards our impact will be an inspiring one. Let it go and be great!
P.S. This was a difficult post to write. I don't want to give the wrong impression about how I view myself. I'm far from building myself a pedestal. "Embarrassing and sometimes haunting shortcomings" says it all.