Connecting the Dots
This is the first installment of a 2-part post by DSST's favorite Staff Recruitment Coordinator, Jeremy T. Check back soon for the second half of his story.
Hello, my name is Jeremy Tarbutton and I currently work at DSST’s Home Office as the Staff Recruitment Coordinator. After teaching 8th grade science for the past three years in Houston, TX, I decided to return to DSST after my positive experience last summer serving as an Urban Leader Fellow. Leaving the classroom was a difficult decision, but now I am able to have a larger impact on the lives of students by finding great educators and great leaders for great schools. It will be a challenging undertaking to track down one-of-a-kind talent, yet simple to share the DSST story because of my strong belief in the teachers and leaders that continually inspire at our six campuses. Last year at this time I could not fathom that my life trajectory would bring me back to DSST, as I was in the midst of preparing for another round of 8th grade students. However, I can now reflect back on a number of pivotal landmarks along my DSST journey that lead me to where I am today.
Connecting the Dots
After working for the past three years at my TFA placement Jackson Middle School in Houston, TX, the bittersweet day finally arrived: it was time for the 8th grade promotion ceremony and my own farewell to my school and teaching career.Knowing this day was coming, I wanted to provide a sense of closure for my students, yet also impart a lasting impression on their lives. I felt that since it was “graduation” it was appropriate to show them a real-world commencement speech, as I hoped and consistently expressed to them that they too would be sitting in the cap and gown one day. I played for them Steve Jobs’ graduation address at Stanford University’s 114th Commencement; we reflected on and discussed the various themes he presented, relating them to our own experiences and future pursuits. Jobs spoke on a number of topics in that speech, but I immediately had a personal connection to his story about “connecting the dots.” I have always viewed my life as an open book, unsure of where the next page will lead. Yet, I continually add stress to my life by trying to plan ahead for the next endeavor. When Jobs shared how he became the CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios he stated:
"Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
His words seemed like common sense, yet I had never considered using this frame of reference to approach new situations and determine underlying causes for the course of my actions.