Lifelong Learners

IMG_9892On my summers off from school I find myself in different relaxing places…the beach, or hiking through some forest, or visiting family.  In the midst of my “downtime” I am struck with how exhausted I truly am from the previous school year.  The rejuvenation is much needed, in fact, usually it takes a couple of weeks to begin to unwind and truly let go.  However, after that something happens, no matter where I am.  My mind begins to roll with lesson ideas.  I see a shell on the beach and I think “Wow I could use this to teach ecosystems.”  It starts out slowly, but before long I have a whole unit written in my head!

Wherever I am I can somehow or another connect it to standards. On trips I have been known to take pictures in order to make PowerPoint presentations for my students.  (Williamsburg comes to mind.) I visit museums and am in awe of all the lessons they hold.  This is not a new phenomenon either, I created a transportation unit on my honeymoon 30 years ago!  Bless my husband’s heart.  When the kids came along they had to adjust to their teacher mom as well.

Once I was walking at a park.  My son was playing on the playground that I was circling, when a former student of mine elbowed him and said, “Watch out…she’s a teacher!”

I replied with a twinkle in my eyes, “Worse than that, I am not only a teacher I am also his mother!”

As I continued my next lap I heard my son say, “You know what is bad about having a teacher for a mom?  When we go on vacations you have to learn stuff.  She takes us to museums and places that teach us things.”

The other child said, “I feel sorry for you!”

I smiled and wondered if it was really that bad.  My son hadn’t complained when we stopped by the Kennedy Space Center or the Okefenokee Swamp on the way home from the beach.  He didn’t seem to mind the tour of the aircraft carrier Yorktown or the historical graveyards in Charleston.  Were we such terrible parents to make vacations into learning opportunities?  I didn’t think so, in fact, I thought we were good parents to try to encourage learning in fun ways.

In a nutshell, that explains what a teacher does.  I hunger for knowledge and I want others to as well.  To me it is an interesting and worthy pursuit.  I think that is why my mind rolls along with the waves.  Impartation is important.  As a teacher, it is the core of who I am.  I am a lifelong learner.  Most of us are.  In fact, I would go so far as to say it is those downtime learning activities that rekindle us and get us ready for the next year.  I am not sure if other professionals from other fields of study have a constant thirst for more.  Maybe they do, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a lawyer collecting creek rocks in his pockets while on a hike.  🙂

Enjoy your summer.  Happy Learning!!

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