I’ve been teaching as long as I can remember.
When I was growing up, I loved to tell my parents and the neighbor kids about the interesting things I had learned about at school that day. One of my favorite ways to play pretend was to cut out little name tags, make up student names, lay them out on my bedroom floor, and teach my imaginary students about the subjects I found most fascinating.
In high school, I found that sometimes, people would even pay me to teach them: I got my first couple jobs as a private tutor. I loved it, and I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. This was my goal all through college until my last year, when I was overwhelmed by what a huge responsibility teachers have to their students.
I’ll admit it, I let my fear of not being enough to meet students’ needs stop me from pursuing my lifelong love. The year after I graduated, I wandered around through several different jobs, each more miserable than the one before.
But, in the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, not all who wander are lost. That wandering led me back to teaching, and now I am more committed to sharing a love of learning with students than ever before.
I think the key to loving learning is in discovering how to wander through the world, looking at it with wonder. In my student teaching this year at a middle school in Irvine, CA, it seems that the times my students learn the most are the times when they slow down enough to wander through a topic of interest and explore it to the fullest. Just like in my path to teaching, not all who wander through learning are lost. The path of inquisitiveness and wonder may not be the quickest route to knowledge, but it is the surest route to becoming a lifelong learner.
So I invite you to join me as I continue wandering through teaching and seek ways to foster curiosity in my students, so that they may spend their lifetime wandering through all there is to learn.