Last week, I heard the comment that every teacher dreads to hear: “This is boring! Why do we have to learn this boring stuff?”
I know that it’s all a matter of opinion of what’s considered fun and what’s considered boring, but this comment really hit home for me this week. After hearing this comment, I realized that it was the time for a little reflection and the time to change some of my ways. It was time for me to rediscover my student’s passions and find ways to spread the joy, wonder, and excitement of learning. And, it was a time for me to take a little trip down memory lane…
When I was a child, I loved school! In first grade, I experienced the power of reading. My mind soared as I journeyed to unknown worlds and took part in fascinating adventures as I turned each page of the books I held in my hand. In second grade, I was given the power of choice in my writing. I was able to craft wonderful stories filled with as much imagination and adventure as in the books I read. In sixth grade, I was shown that math was not made-up of just facts that I had to memorize, but rather numbers and symbols that served a specific purpose in my daily life.
Continuing on to middle school… social studies – a subject I normally dreaded due to the mundane repetition, memorization, and unknowing purpose of studying our nation’s history. But that all changed when I set foot in my eighth grade social studies class. In that class, history was brought to life.
In all of my science classes throughout high school, I was lucky to get to experience hands-on, minds-on learning every day. Through the use of 21st century skills, such as technology, collaboration, and critical thinking, everyone was able to work together to achieve a common goal.
Let’s not forget college… my favorite courses were the ones that were taught by professors who thought outside of the box. Instead of having us listen to monotonous lectures, these professors involved students in the process of learning and the culmination of new ideas.
Through all these experiences, I’ve realized that each and every one of my teachers had a genuine passion for teaching. They found ways to make the subject-matter they taught relatable and applicable to everyday life. They spent a significant amount of their time planning these lessons, conferring with students, and asking thought-provoking questions. They made all students feel like a success… leaving their classrooms with the feeling that anything was possible.
My teachers helped create these passions and instill a lifetime love of learning. And to them, I offer a very sincere thank-you. Because of you, you have shaped the teacher I want to become. I want my students to experience the magic and wonderment that you showed me every single day. I want to inspire my students to believe they can do the impossible and give them the tools to do just that. Anything is possible.
And so, I leave you with this quote from Seth Godin’s e-book titled, Stop Stealing Dreams:
“When we let our kids dream, encourage them to contribute, and push them to do work that matters, we open doors for them that will lead to places that are difficult for us to imagine. When we turn school into more than just a finishing school for a factory job, we enable a new generation to achieve things that we were ill-prepared for” (187).
I want my kids to dream. To realize anything is possible. And to do this, I commit to making a change.