powerful moments in education
As I clicked submit in the university system’s grading portal, after reviewing this list multiple times to check for errors, my first thought was: Grades are weird.
My second thought was, well, more a reaction. I let out a light exhale and looked around the room. “Congratulations, me,” I announced to myself in my head. “You just finished your first semester teaching.”
Entering Higher Education was never something I planned to do. When I decided to become a consultant and ride on the waves of hope that schools who needed my skill set would invite me to the table, it just happened. It’s quite the journey, really. I started out as a preschool camp counselor who loved to babysit little ones and 20ish years later ended up one who self-proclaimed her “office” in the student library cafe and invited students to come get assistance (read: bailout) on their final portfolios. I was overly caffeinated and they were overly grateful. Mostly.
I noticed that, despite the lack of emotion and response these undergraduates typically displayed, the majority are craving knowledge. It’s why they are there- though they may not know that for some time. When I started them blogging (their fingers dragging at first), I was finally able to get to know them and hear how they got there, what their high school experience was like, what they want to be when they grow up…At some point it dawned on me- they may be much older, but they need all the same things my 4th graders needed. Maybe even more so!
But truly, what I am now enjoying the most is the most important part of being educator, and probably the most important part of being a human: reflection. I love reflection. I love looking back through my recent memories and synthesizing my experiences. I love that hindsight is 20-20, though it can be slightly annoying. When I review what I see in my rearview mirror, the learning is absolutely closer than it appears. And so is this realization: I just had a first year of teaching. Again.
Now, I would never go back to that year, 22 in a 4th grade classroom, all the blind hope in the world and a desk full of naivety. But I have narrowed my learning from that year down to 1 statement: You can’t do it alone. Thanks to online personal learning networks, I don’t have to anymore. So if that isn’t my lesson for this “first” year…what is?
Sorry to disappoint you..but- I don’t know yet! I will, though, eventually. And when I do, I will pour it into my educator gas tank so it can move me forward. For now, I have the best gift that teachers are given: The ability to refresh, revise, and start over, each time making it better than the last.