Sagan's message carries massive implications for teachers. Notwithstanding the obvious physical emergencies that simply come with all aspects of life (injury, threat, risk etc.), within our daily grind when even the most trivial challenges become emergencies, how often can we say we are truly in the 'here and now' for our students, modeling the virtues of wonderment, curiosity, awareness... mindfulness? We get so wrapped up in the externally applied pressures of what we do that we lose our connection with our students; the only reason teachers exist.
Teachers, we have a challenging job, but in every challenge lies opportunity, and I would argue our teaching opportunity provides us with what I consider to be the most impacting and resonant responsibility this pale blue dot has to offer- the responsibility to teach.
We exist within a cosmic irony. Our very existence on earth is unexplainable, our origin unknown... we are a faith-based entity... we have to believe we are here for a reason. To believe otherwise would result in a very lonely, purposeless existence. So in this vast, unexplainable and overwhelming universe wherein our existence is completely insignificant, alas teachers are here and we have something significant to do. We are the ones responsible for helping all of us make sense of our ironic existence, our role in the world, our purpose... to find significance.
Every student is worth our full attention, and it is our primary responsibility to divine their individual strengths so they can be shared with the world. At the same time, we must bring the world to each individual student... help them realize how truly massive it is and what can be learned by being part of it all.
There is no person alive that should miss the opportunity to be significant.