The Best Teacher? Lifelong Learning.
By Nancy Wahl, AP Literature and Composition, Houston, TX:
This year, at the young age of 58, I began a Master’s degree program at Rice University. I teach senior English and work diligently to make learning relevant for my students. I seek to ensure that what we do in class will make a positive impact on student learning in college and in life. Throughout the year, we discuss specific expectations related to my students’ upcoming college years, and I seek professional development to equip me to provide students what they need to succeed. Though my pursuit of this degree stems from my own desire to learn, I do not believe anything could be more powerful for me as an educator than modeling my lifelong love of learning for my students!
After the very first English class I took as part of my program, I am a changed educator. From anticipating coursework to wondering about my own ability to complete the work successfully, I developed a keener sense of what students feel as they approach any challenging high school course. This awareness will directly affect my initial interactions with students in my courses and how I plan initial activities. As a student myself, I worked through many of the issues that I discuss with my students throughout the year. As a result, I have changed activities and approaches in my classroom, and I believe that learning will become more relevant for my students as they move on to engage a fast-paced and global world.
As educators, we cannot stop being curious! Curiosity drives learning, and learning is for a lifetime.