As I have begun to enter into adulthood, I have identified that learning is one of the greatest joys in life. I love to try my hand at new skills and discover new truths about this splendid universe I am so lucky to call home. The truth of the matter is this: life is amazing and we should be awestruck with every new morsel of knowledge we can indulge in. I am definitely not the only person I know who feels this way. Yet there is often a disconnect between the joy of learning and receiving a formal education, which I hope I do not fall into as I attempt to educate others.
I am less than one month away from finishing my bachelor's degree. I am sitting atop thirteen years of public school education and four years of "higher education" from a university. Seventeen years to reflect on while the memories are still fresh.
I like to think that I am a curious person who seeks out new experiences and facts. I was also raised to believe that school is important, so I always did my best to apply myself- at least enough to get good grades. Somehow though, as I reflect back on my education, I was typically doing my school work with a sense of deep obligation and fear of letting myself and my professors down. For tests, I memorized the information for the necessary amount of time and then it just seemed to empty out of my brain as if I had hit 'delete' on that file.
I always hear that a good teacher brings learning to life. I have had many good teachers whose courses I loved and will carry with me for the rest of my life. Even so, much of the time I completed my work for the classes I loved that were part of my major at university or my biggest interests in grade school with fearful compliance rather than the excited energy that I have when I read a National Geographic or see an animal that is new to me.
Why isn't school more fun? Is it something fundamental about bringing children together in one place to learn?
I want to share the love I have for learning with other people for the rest of my life! My heart flutters when I think about sharing my love of animals, art, and preservation of nature. My excitement is hindered by my fear that the programs I am putting together will include the negative, creative blockades I found in school.
I can only speak for myself, but I know that I get excited about learning when my whole body, my voice and my imagination are engaged in the process. It is not unusual for me to read something that blows my mind, laugh from my belly with glee, get up to jump and dance around, then go write a song or a poem about it. The resulting song is sometimes something I am proud of but more than likely I look at it later with a sigh and shake of the head and it never leaves the privacy of the notebook I scribbled it into.
I want to bring that kind of excitement to other people. I don't have the answer to how I can do that yet, but I hope I never stop trying to find and perfect it! I also do not have the answer of how to make school as fun as learning.. I do know that stressful tests and demanding assignments did not work for me and I was what many would consider a "goody-two shoes" when it came to school. I also know this answer may be impossible to reach since everyone is different; there may be as many answers as there are people.
The closest thing that resembles an answer for my future of educating others is this: I will try to meet people where they are at. Not interested in what I am passionate about? Do you find wonder in something else? Let's talk about that and come back to my passion later! We can be united by the flow of excitement and art. Then we can find the connective tissue between the things we love to learn about!
For the rest, I will simply keep being curious!