Educators have a great responsibility to help our students learn to be themselves, be open to different experiences, and be accepting of others. This week’s Secret Lifer, Alan Sage, Vegetarian Scientist, shows us that he became who he is today because of these traits.
Alan takes his cue from Bob Dylan.
I was incredibly inspired listening to Alan. He seems to have created his life exactly as Bob Dylan believed we should when he said, “All I can do is be me, whoever that is.”
Alan is a man who grew up understanding himself and accepting his…idiosyncrasies. From spending day upon day at the Subway Transit Museum in New York, to befriending the minority students in the other classes in his high school, to becoming a Jewish rapper, Mr. Sage shows us that being yourself can help you find your path in life.
He also spoke quite eloquently of the fact that he had no idea where he was going until a special molecular biology teacher opened his eyes to the possibilities of this field. I believe that his ability to be open to new ideas, such as rapping, allowed him to be open to learning and, consequently, becoming an Intel finalist, forever changing his life.
Listening to Alan reminds me that, as an educator, I can never be sure what might spark the interest of a child, what might change a life forever, what might be the trigger that gets them moving in a different direction. And my ultimate job is to help them stay open to the possibilities. So each new lesson, be it physics, history, writing, or even biology, must be presented with the excitement needed to start a young mind on the path to success. And isn’t that what teaching is all about?