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Second Innocence by John B. Izzo

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11 Getting Past Your Expiration Date

“If you are called to sweep streets, but you sweep them the way Beethoven wrote music, you will never have an unhappy day.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I first met Mrs. O’Donnell she was already sixty-four years old and had been teaching for more than forty years. One year away from retirement, even a casual observer could see the youthful enthusiasm she demonstrated in her classroom full of active, noisy fourth-graders. She seemed to have the bright-eyed innocence and wonder of a recent college graduate, even though she had been doing the same thing for four decades.

I have encountered many teachers (and other professionals) who have lost that innocent wonder—often at a much younger age—and meeting ...

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