Last Thursday I graduated with my masters and in the weeks leading up to it, I was excited but it was also bittersweet. As I was getting ready for the ceremony that night, I started reflecting more on my journey and who I am as a learner.
When I was in elementary school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. My fourth grade teacher sparked a light inside me that has never burned out. There is something about the profession that fuels my soul. I love researching new ideas and trying them out…it makes me fall in love with teaching all over again. But most importantly, I love sparking a love for learning in my students.
Two years ago I bought my first ukulele. I had been tinkering around on it for months – never quite feeling confident. It wasn’t until my masters class last January, on the uke, that I gained confidence and brought it in to share it with my students. The first day I brought it in, we had a long conversation about how Miss Puuri is still learning too and her professor wanted her to bring her uke into class. They were thrilled and surprised to hear I was learning too.
That was my “AH-HA” moment….that moment I realized my students didn’t know I was still learning.
After that, I made it a point to share with my students about what I was learning because when they found out I was learning too, I noticed all my students take even more of an interest in learning new things.
When we start off the year, the first thing we want with our students is a connection. If we can connect with them and tell them about how we are learning – then we are taking the first step in a positive direction. Sometimes I think kids get overwhelmed by the fact that the teacher is telling them what to do or even what to know – when they are at that point, most times, they don’t even want to try. If we open up to our kids and share our learning, then it opens them up to being willing to try too.
Sharing our learning tells our students that learning is life long – it’s not just about school. When they can have that connection to learning, their minds open up to a world of possibilities they didn’t even know existed.