I was a quiet, pensive, friendly child. I remember the excitement I felt at learning to read thin Dick and Jane books in kindergarten. I remember getting all As on my report cards and being commended as “a responsible and diligent student.” I remember proudly receiving an award labeled “The Thinker” from my second-grade teacher.
It was ingrained in me early on that education is essential. My maternal grandfather was the first in his family to finish college, a huge accomplishment at the time, and one which my mother was very proud of. I owe my very existence to higher education; my parents met through mutual friends at the University of Houston in the late seventies. Never once did it cross my mind (or theirs) that I might not attend college immediately after graduating high school with flying colors. And so I did.
I remember choosing my degree in advertising primarily because it sounded easy and required only 3 hours of math. I remember being sick and tired of studying hard and being a diligent student. I remember skipping a ton of classes in my undergraduate years yet still making good grades and graduating in four years.
I remember the anxiety and fear that enveloped me as I approached graduation and wondered how I would manage adulthood and “real life” without the safe, rigid structure of school I had known all my life. My GPA and class rank no longer mattered.
After a couple bored years in my first career (advertising and marketing), I remember the joy and relief I felt when I decided upon my next career move. In nine months, I earned an alternative teaching certificate and landed a job at a bilingual elementary school. Yes, it was challenging and intense and stressful but equally as rewarding to work with kids and help them grow and learn. I thought, “Wow! This is it! I have found my calling. I will be a teacher forevermore.”
After eight years of teaching, in progressively more progressive schools, it dawned on me that there are lots of other models for learning besides the traditional classroom. I feel so fortunate to be able to offer this site as a vehicle to share what I’m learning about learning.
What is your story of learning?
We invite you to comment below or submit your full stories to EnlightenEd.Org@gmail.com.