In my visits to schools and classrooms throughout our district, I get to spend a lot of time talking with school leaders and teachers. But some of my favorite conversations are the ones I have with students. I think of these conversations as “mission moments” – experiences that remind me of why I love working in public education.
During one of my school visits last year, I met a student named Tairahn. I will probably never forget meeting Tairahn because in our conversation, he shared that his dream in life is become a herpetologist. A herpetologist – from the Greek “herpien” meaning “to creep” – is a person who studies reptiles and amphibians, and Tairahn is fascinated by them.
Let’s think for a moment about what it takes to achieve this dream.
- He’ll need to graduate from high school and be accepted into a 4-year university.
- He’ll need to major in something like biology, ecology, or zoology.
- He’ll need to be sure that his course of study includes mathematics – so he can do things like project population growth and decline.
- He’ll probably also need to study genetics to help with species classification.
- And then once he graduates, he’ll need to stay on top of new developments in the field. He’d probably attend conferences and workshops. He might even work one on one with a mentor. Of course, he’d also be doing a lot of research on a regular basis, so he’d need a strong background in English composition.
I have no doubt that Tairahn has the drive to achieve his dream, and a strong education – provided by our amazing school teams – will be the vehicle to get him there. Education opens up countless pathways for opportunity, and those pathways start in Tulsa schools and classrooms.