The ouroboros has several meanings interwoven into it. Foremost is the symbolism of the serpent biting, devouring, or eating its own tail. This symbolizes the cyclic Nature of the Universe: creation out of destruction, Life out of Death. The ouroboros eats its own tail to sustain its life, in an eternal cycle of renewal.
Now I am not in the habit of eating my own tail, but having been around the world and back, I do feel a spiritual sense of renewal and growth from my experiences. I was not on a year-long holiday, but rather I dug deep inside of myself as a teacher, a father, and a husband and came back to Portland Oregon and Mary Rieke Elementary, full circle, a changed person. How exactly is still to be written, but my Fulbright teaching experience was life changing.
I feel it is time to close my blog for good, but I would like to share a few final photos looking at my life from the past year…
So coming full circle these are photos of my new classroom for the 2013-2014 school year. I have 31 students and I am teaching 3rd grade (Year 4). About half boys and half girls. I will miss the Smartboard I had in England. But back in America I do have a desk to work at which is nice. We also have PE, Music, and a Dance teacher. Teaching PE and Music was really difficult and I am glad I now send my students to professionals instead of an amateur like me trying to teach those subjects!
It is the largest class I have ever taught and the noise level they create is by far my biggest challenge. But so far they have shown me that they are bright, capable, and willing to do their best. When students are that flexible I feel that I can teach them anything they want to learn.
As I stated before the Fulbright Teacher Exchange side of the Fulbright program has been discontinued. A few countries will participate for another year, but the UK side has been eliminated. It is a disappointing ending to my experience, but I am and will forever be a Fulbright alumnus. I plan on participating with the program however I can, as well as staying in touch as best I can with the wonderful teachers I met both overseas as well as from America. The experience itself was never easy but I would not change a thing.
Looking back on my year it seems part fairy tale, part dream. Our photos, souvenirs, and memories keep the experience fresh in our minds. I also hope that my children will grow up to be better citizens and more globally aware due to the experiences that they took part in. All of us, Rebecca, Annika, Zachary, and I were given an opportunity of a lifetime and we will never forget our year living abroad in England, 2012-2013.
So with that I close this blog. Thanks to everyone who followed along and enjoyed the ride.
Portland Oregon, October 2013