While editing my teaching statement for academic jobs, I noticed tears welling up in my eyes. In writing about my teaching approach, I began to reflect on all those who have taught me, all the great literature, and wisdom to which I have been exposed.
I do not know what I did to be born into a time, place, and family able to offer me time to read the classics and spend hundreds of hours with brilliant and compassionate minds. I had forgotten in my search for "what's next?" what an absolute privilege this has been.
I am preparing my syllabi now for several courses. A course at the University of Malta, SciencesPo (France), and one at Grinnell College. (Yes, I know three countries, lots of time on the road). In preparing to educate others, I can finally look back on who built me.
In some ways, I am a composite of all these people and institutions. True, I have my own opinions and my own philosophy about life which may differ from theirs at times, but I still stand on their shoulders. It seems important not to forget this. When writing job applications we have to shine the light on ourselves, when really in order to do so, I need to shine a light on the hundreds of people who made me, me.
If I win a position, "we" have really won it. Of course, there are limits. I'm probably not going to share my salary with them. But I do love them dearly.