“The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community (kula) that learning, and living, require.” -Parker J. Palmer
As a student, this resonates with my desire to own more of my learning. To have teachers who create a space in which my learning can actually mean something to me- and allow me to feel connected to material and find purpose in what new knowledge I am acquiring.
As a student through high school, I spent most of my time getting descent grades, doing what was needed and saying (or not saying) what I thought the teacher wanted to hear, but never really feeling connected to most subject matter. I went to class to get an ‘A’. I joined clubs because it ‘would look good to get into college.’ I was taught not to make ripples, not to stand out and definitely not to disagree. I didn’t question most teachers, because I didn’t want to get in trouble. This type of experience is similar to that of some of my peers. We have been talking about topics such as this for the past few weeks. It is why I think I have embraced since high school alternative ways that we, as students, are educated; in the classroom much of the time I was bored and didn’t see any relevance of how school related to real life.
I did have some amazing teachers that taught me many amazing life skills, introduced me to important information and just got me excited about learning and being at school. My middle school choir teacher helped with my creativity and confidence, my high school world history teacher taught me time management skills and my geology teacher blew my mind in terms of getting me excited about rocks and cool science stuff- a subject I usually didn’t like. These teachers are partly why I am here today. It is the classes that I found fascinating that I remember. It is the teachers that left a positive imprint on me that I, as an educator, want to hold on to for ‘lessons learned’ and ‘best practices.’
“… what we teach will never “take” unless it connects with the inward, living core of our students’ lives, with our students’ inward teachers.” -P.J.P.
Another former amazing teacher of mine I want to acknowledge. Mr. Dye, a middle school history teacher changed my life. Not only was he an amazing teacher, but he gave me actual skills that I could carry with me after our year together was over. He taught me how to take multiple choice tests. He offered ‘how to take tests’ classes at lunch. This skill helped me get through middle school, high school, college,… EMT certifications,… and even Praxis tests. The time he spent gifting me this skill made me want to work that much harder in his classes- and do that much better on his tests. The content of the class was great, but the life-skill was just as important in my educational experiences thus far.