Over the course of my work with the Teach For All network, I have had the honor and the pleasure of meeting many driven and animated personalities. Amongst the exceptional CEO’s of the 27 partner programs, Wendy Kopp and Brett Wigdortz (the pioneers of our global movement) are surely our common inspirations. Having Wendy with us in Manila these past two days has been re-energizing. Through a personal lens, I believe that what she did was give us a chance – in the midst of this controlled chaos – to re-new our vows with the mission we have committed ourselves to.
Channeling the intense energy of the Question and Answer session at Institute, I reflect on Wendy’s time with us and even Brett’s upcoming visit, and I want to write this post addressed to our 54 Fellows.
Are you guys scared yet?
I hope so. I’d be worried if you weren’t.
Every life adventure that’s truly transformative is always a little bit scary. And I promise that this is not even just “#thingsclarissasays”. See, and allow me a small digression, Matthew Winkler posted a great animation on the TED website illustrating best what I mean to write now. It’s called, “What makes a hero?“. In it, Winkler takes us through Joseph Campbell’s mono-myth or the study of events that make or break a hero. He describes to the viewer of his clip the following elements of a hero’s journey by using the cycle of a clock,
12.00: Status quo. Where every quest begins.
1.00: Call to Adventure / Call to Action. An invitation and a challenge to the status quo. Your status quo, whatever it was, was challenged. That, simply put, is why you applied.
2.00: Assistance. Help, support, training, and aid.
3:00: Departure. Crossing the threshold from your comfort zone, entering a special world and the beginning of the adventure.
4.00: Trials. Guess what? Being a hero is hard work. You were right to be scared at 3.00.
5.00: Approach. Time to face your biggest ordeal, your scariest monster, your staunchest foe.
6.00: Crisis. The hero’s darkest hour…you possibly even die.
7:00: Rebirth & Treasure. Except that you don’t! You are reborn or at least escape within an inch of your life…and are summarily rewarded.
8:00: Result. We call it impact.
9:00: Return. After the adventure, you return to your ordinary world.
10:00: New Life. This quest will change you. You will find yourself having out grown your old life.
11:00: Resolution. Reflection. Clarity. Peace. This crazy escapade finally makes sense.
12:00: Status quo, but upgraded to a new level: Taking the long-termview means transformation: For you. For your students. For their families. For the Philippines.
You have been called to an adventure and have been chosen because of your bias for action. Now you are three and a half weeks closer to entering your classroom. Wendy’s visit and Brett’s upcoming one are sure markers of your imminent departure. As Wendy shared on Thursday evening, “If not this, what? If not now, when? If not you, who?”
You, indeed. The digression now aside, I have been asked to share an experience and the experience I have been asked to write about is “My Hour with Wendy Kopp.” Well,the hour Wendy’s visit represents to me is 3 o’clock.Wendy and Brett are powerful voices to thousands around the world and like an oracle or sage they fly halfway around the globe to be with you. In my eyes, they want us to understand, to give solemn importance to, what lies ahead. On the eve of our departure they are pointing our way forward and seeing us off with this promise: Up ahead is your trial. Seize it. Survive it. Let it change you. It will be worth it.
Right now, in short, the hour on your clock is 3.
Ms. Clarissa Isabelle L. Delgado was the Special Projects Director at Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, before helping found Teach for the Philippines. From 2009-2011, the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology based in Boston, Massachusetts) –Abdul Latif Sameel Poverty Action Lab conducted a measurement survey of the SAS’s impact, which she managed. In addition she directed projects for private corporations and multilateral organizations like the Asian Development Bank. Clarissa holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and is currently pursuing a teaching license in the Philippines.