Davy Crockett has always been a hero of mine.
I first discovered his story in Kindergarten, when we watched the John Wayne version of The Alamo. I was drawn to something in the character- the swagger, the confidence, and even at that young age, the sacrifice. I was so so enamored with Crockett, my friends and I played "Alamo" every day at recess. My Kindergarten graduation became a play called "Davy Crockett Goes to Kindergarten." Yep, I was Davy Crockett. And yes, there is a video of it. And no, you cannot see it. But there was a line, basically at the start where I uttered a phrase equivalent to "I am Davy Crockett." I reveled in playing the part.
As I have grown, my admiration has not waned, but my perspective is different.
I realize now that I admire Crockett for his pioneering spirit. I was an adult when I discovered (or maybe just recognized the significance and power of) the story of his decision to come to Texas. Fed up with Congress and his constituents, and tired of finding unwillingness to help the citizens of Texas in their plight to independence, according to an April 9, 1836 edition of the Niles Weekly Register, he told the voters if they re-elected him he'd serve. But if they did not, he told them, "You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas." He had a vision, and would go for it, even if no one else did because he believed there were people who needed help, and he could offer it.
This week, I am at the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) annual conference. I got to come because my friends behind #CSISDchat, Aaron Hogan and Jeremy Stewart, asked me to present a session with them- and my District was awesome enough to let me go. Aaron and Jeremy represent "Davy Crocketts" in education, as do several of the presenters I have seen this week, like Todd Nesloney and Brent Clarkson presenting their Kids Deserve It session and the story of Liz Murray and her journey from Homeless to Harvard. "Davy Crocketts" are people who do not want to continue to do the same things they and their surrounding culture accept as "the way it is." They see opportunities, and say, "I am going for this, you can come or not." There is passion, and there is purpose in what these people do. Not everyone gets it- Crockett himself only had a small number of volunteers join him in his journey to San Antonio de Bexar.
But we remember him today.
In fact, TASSP has chosen their theme for the summer workshop to be the image below:
"Davy Crocketts" are more than just passion, there is a desire to serve others even at tremendous personal cost. For educators, it is often long hours, long conferences, financial struggles. But it is also often a fight against traditions and the status quo- which means there is often a fight against the people around them who mean well, but do not buy the vision and the passion for that vision. Being a "Davy Crockett" can be lonely. But "Crocketts" don't do what they do because it is easy, they do what they do because they believe it is right, it is worth fighting for, and it is worth any loss they might incur.
As a kid, loved Davy Crockett because he work buckskins, a coonskin cap, had a cool gun, and literally went down swinging at the Alamo. As an adult, I love him because he was a pioneer- a bit of a rebel, but passionate and principled. Those educators I mentioned- they are "Davy Crocketts". I see "Davy Crocketts all around me this week- and I am blessed to work each day with a number of them.
I want to be a "Davy Crockett," to look at a new path, a new way of reaching students, and say, "I will go to Texas." It is more than just incorporating new technology or shifting up the lesson plans a bit. It is a mindset- a pioneering, I am going to try something a little crazy, maybe a little dangerous, but I am doing it for the betterment of my students. For the betterment of my craft. For the betterment of me.
As a Kindergartner, I said the line, "I am Davy Crockett" because I thought he was cool. But today, I see him as an example- a kind of parable of the kind of educator I want to be. Passionate, innovative, selfless.
"I am Davy Crockett."