A few days ago, I came across an article (read it here: http://www.9news.com/news/article/189408/328/California-principal-sells-shoe-collection-to-save-jobs) about Michele Miller, a California principal who has decided to acution off her impressive collection of shoes in order to help solve some of her district’s budget issues. And while I’m over the whole teacher-as-martyr mentality that’s been so popular in film lately (probably because I know many, many educators who are phenomenally effective, incredibly generous, and really strive toward finding balance in both their work lives and their personal lives because they know that they have to in order to really make a difference), something about this struck me as pretty amazing.
It’s not that she set out to save every child or fix a system that may or may not be irreparably broken. She has, however, come up with a really generous solution to a very specific problem: the teachers, librarians, administrators, and support staff at her school will lose their jobs unless somebody does something– and something, this time, happens to be a remarkable and symbolic shoe sale.
The message that Ms. Miller’s project sends isn’t, obviously, about the shoes, or the money, or even the jobs. It’s about stepping up, and digging deep, and having faith that your community can come together when it matters.
It ‘s about believing–even when the economy’s bad and the future is uncertain and it would be much easier to stop paying attention–that we can do better.
And just knowing that there are people like her in the world, willing to give you the shirts off of their backs– or the super-cute leopard print stilettos out of their closet–gives me hope that we’ll rise to the challenge.