“I believe that life in school must be thought of as life itself, not simply preparation for later life.” – Ayers, To Teach

 

I keep getting up in all this preparation, the training, the observing, the practicing but I have been forgetting something. There are those eternal questions, the questions that fill those late nights that seem to happen only sporadically.

 

I remember talking until dawn on countless occasions, filling the air with conversations on science and philosophy, existentialism and existence, determinism and free will. Some of the questions might seem pointless as I grow a little older every day, but they aren’t.

 

Those kind of conversations – the conversations that delve into what’s really real, what’s really important, what’s really happening and why – are so vital to the human experience. Education, that word alone carries a weight above the world. What is it? Why do we need it? What is progress? Are we better off than we were before?

 

I remember a story my dad told me when I was younger. I thought it was stupid at the time, but it has really got me thinking recently – A poor fisherman goes out fishing and meets a man who teaches him how he can pack some fish to sell. Later he tells him that with a new net and a new method he can catch even more fish and open up a shop. Eventually he can hire people to fish, pack and ship the fish. He can hire boats and crews to fish. The process is very efficient, the fisherman becomes very rich and operates his business from the city. “Now what?” asks the fisherman. The man tells him that he can retire and find a cottage and go fishing at his leisure.

 

The story didn’t make sense to me when I was young. I thought that being rich – having things was all that mattered. But I grow older everyday. I watch that a year has passed in only a moment. I went from repairing printers to married and on my way to becoming a teacher. When did this happen? How did this happen?

 

Many times I’m in class and wondering what I’m going to do next. Or I’m out of class and planning for the next moment. Everything is always in motion. There are a million things going on at once.

 

 

I look at my students, diverse in ideas, culture, and personality. I don’t want to sell them on a false future. I want them to fall in love with learning – because that’s what life is about. We listen to each other, we learn from each other, we find each other and we find the world we’re living in a new world. A world to go fishing. If you like to fish.

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6 thoughts on “

  1. You have such an inspirational way with words! We really should have the goal for kids to “fall in love with learning”. So many kids are discouraged by academics, and think they are not capable, which is just tragic. We need to support the excitement and importance of learning so that that will brush off onto the students.

  2. I enjoyed reading about those times when your learning and thinking were so relevant and all-consuming that you “stayed up until dawn” exploring your thoughts and those of others! – I, too, would like my students to be so engaged with pondering theses “eternal questions,” so I am wondering … when that happened for you, what was the spark? How can we as teachers provide that spark for our students? Do you think we model it when we pursue questions as you did in your math lesson a few blogs back – when we let the thinking direct us rather than the prescribed curriculum?

    • I truly think the spark can only come from within – unless we inception the idea to love learning. It’s something that must be discovered on their own. Teaching that allows students to be creative in approaching problems might be the key, though.

      • I agree completely. By providing an environment where students can be creative, are interested, focused and making connections with their learning is when that spark will ignite.

  3. […] to someone else’s learning by engaging in conversation prompted by one of their blog posts.  Here, I make comments and prompt deeper thinking about the specific idea of excitement for learning and […]

  4. […] me to formulate some ideas before sitting down and blindly typing whatever pops into my mind, like this post. I think my blog posts have been getting better over time, though every once in awhile the ideas […]

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