For the Love of Learning

Classroom Sign: The Mess by KTVee, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Photo by  KTVee 

And just like that 8 weeks have passed since my last blog post! The magic of grad school…time dissolves while you are pouring brain cells, sweat, tears, and late, late nights into learning. My third term at the U of S has just wrapped up and in reflection I would have to say: ‎40 boxes of Kleenexes later, sleep deprived, serious lack of vitamin D, questionable loss of sanity, blurred eyesight, overloaded on caffeine, neglected dog and husband, house in disarray, random joint pain…it is all worth it! Without hesitation, I believe this to my core.

When I think about all of my learning experiences over the past three months I am staggered. It almost feels like an out of body experience not merely because I wonder how I got through it all (although I am curious how that happened!) but at a deeper level I did not think it was possible to learn so much and on so many levels. Through my coursework I have been deeply challenged, inspired, pushed, surprised, reaffirmed, and rejuvenated. I continue to experience on a profound level what it feels like to learn through inquiry and through authentic experiences. My learning has been interconnected, uncomfortable at times, messy, difficult, urgent, unpredictable, relevant, and eye opening. I love the struggle and the effort of this learning. I love the moments when epiphanies hit, my perspectives shift or an awareness settles in as I realize I have not simply learned something, I have been changed by the learning. As my studies continue so does the degree to which I am changed as a learner, a teacher, and as a person.

David Jakes on Change 2 by datruss, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Photo by  datruss 

As a learner I have discovered on a deeper level how to: wrestle with ideas and problems, persevere beyond what I believed possible, push back and be pushed back upon, connect with others to propel my learning in multi-directions, and be resourceful when the solutions are nowhere near obvious. I continue to be inspired by educators who think outside the box while supporting and encouraging others to do the same. I am a self-declared nerd so I am comfortable in saying I am in awe of what our brains can do when pushed to create, connect, wonder, and stretch. I am yet again reminded how good it feels for my brain to form those new connections and realizations; how good it feels to think in new ways, add new dimensions onto the lens through which I see, and come to a deeper level of understanding that gives me that “wow” feeling. It makes me think so much about my own students and it renews my commitment to facilitate their “wow” moments. I believe it is those moments that reel us in and create life-long learners; learners who have a thirst for more and who want to get messy and wild in their learning.

Anyone who stops learning is old by klbeasley, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License Photo by  klbeasley 

As a teacher I have been further inspired to seek out authentic, rich experiences for learning. I am reaffirmed in the value of inquiry and the importance of students living the process of learning…realizing it is mucky and tough but at the same time discovering their ability to work through it, and the strength that is gained though collaboration and connections. The value of relationships continues to come through loud and clear for me. Relationships are truly at the heart of all that we do. I have come to realize that relationships and connections take many forms and they do not need to be face-to-face to have depth, meaning, and impact. I now clearly see that one of my roles as a teacher is to support my students in making genuine connections beyond their classroom and school walls. They need to interact and engage with people who have many different experiences, ideas, perspectives, and passions. We are changed by the people we connect with and my students deserve to know this lesson far sooner than I did.

Let Them Fly by KTVee, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Photo by  KTVee 

As a person I have become more confident in my ability to express my thinking, more brave in my ruckus making, more thoughtful in my opinions, and more grounded in my beliefs about teaching and learning. I was reminded on an extreme level that I can use my  perfectionism to be productive, however wrangling it when I am overwhelmed is like riding a wild bull. And I was indeed bucked off more than once this term. I have lived knowledge of the power of a network and how their support makes anything possible. I have learned that I have to trust my gut and my instincts. This is not a new lesson for me, but each time I am faced with it I think it resonates deeper. It is a lesson that is not to be learned in one shot, I need to put myself out there repeatedly to learn how to trust myself.

Think Different by KTVee, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Photo by  KTVee 

I have more specifics to share about my learning in relation to instructional design and my Master’s project but it has to wait. Tomorrow I am hitting the road in hope of giving these braincells some time to regroup for the Spring term…my last term of my Master’s program.

So I am leaving this view…

A lovely and talented MacBook... by fd, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License Photo by  fd 

For this view:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I will definitely learn about Brazil while I am there but more importantly I will learn all the lovely and amazing things a four year old niece and a 2 year old nephew have to teach their “Auntie Tan”. These will be lessons of the heart and spirit, and I cannot wait!

6 thoughts on “For the Love of Learning

  1. Nice job! Love the idea of the ruckus we make when learning – that it is neither orderly or quiet.
    Bring on the noise!
    Enjoy your trip!

  2. I love this for how eloquently and passionately you talk about your learning – makes me want to sharpen a pencil and crack open a dusty textbook! – but more for how you segue into your trip to Rio!!! We cannot wait to be your teachers for a few weeks. Lessons will include rice and bean cooking, bikini wearing, digger playing and fairy fantasy. Get ready to REALLY learn! 🙂 You deserve to celebrate with an exotic trip!

    • Thanks for your comment, Sarah! One of the many factors that made my learning great is that there were no dusty (or any other kind) textbooks this term at all. All relevant, current, open learning. Times have changed since using the old microfiche! See you soon on Brazilian soil! Cannot wait!

  3. You’re so right. It’s all about getting messy and wild in our learning. Playing in the mud is more fun than building a Lego something, in my humble opinion. Thanks for taking me along on your learning journey this year, and I only wish Rio was included on my own itinerary.

    • Thanks for your comments, Rick! I really appreciate it! As a kid I had very traditional schooling and it took being an adult learner to discover how fabulous playing and learning in the mud can be. I am grateful it is never too late to make these discoveries. I will tweet pics from Brazil! 🙂

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