I Have the Best Job In the World: Reflections on Being a Life Long Learner

I am sure that this is a sentiment that a lot of people can relate to. Many of us who have spent time in our chosen careers have developed a passion for what it is that we do. In my case that would be education. I have spent the last twelve years living and teaching in Northern Alberta; and these years have been among the most enjoyable of my life. As a teacher I often hear things like, “Oh you could not pay me enough….”, or, “I do not know how you do it.” After reading a number of blogs and thinking about it I have decided on what it is that motivates me to continue to answer this calling. It comes down to two key things: I have an excellent group of students and colleagues that I get to go to work with every day and secondly, I get to forward my own learning; you see I discovered, though I am not exactly sure when, that I am a life long learner!

Some of you may be thinking, “There is a revelation, thanks Nostradamus!” and to a large extent you may be right – it would stand to reason that I am in a profession where not only is life long learning possible, it is almost a job requirement. Allow me to postscript this last statement by saying that I am not for a moment implying in any way that teaching is the only occupation where life long learning exists; or that teachers are the only individuals who engage in this practice. That said, of late I have been pondering what it is about my job that gives me greatest joy and allows me to maintain my passion as an educator – indeed I was at a workshop today where we discussed this very question. I have also been reading many posts by other bloggers about topics that they are passionate about.

So, what is it about life long learning that allows me to connect more deeply to my practice as an educator. I suppose that it is a product of two things. First, I get tired of repetition; not that I do not believe that some learning is facilitated by repeated practice, but once you have taught the same thing multiple times, discussed it, written about it, etc. the novelty of more of the same does begin to make paying attention more difficult – even as the teacher. The other, or second aspect of all of this is that I am competitive and love a challenge; I like to find new ways to  challenge myself in the way that I present ideas. Indeed today with the technology that is available to teachers, and society as a whole, the ability to challenge yourself and to link to others, both within the school and the world at large, that enjoy doing the same is a powerful motivator; and keeps the creative juices flowing.

These  I feel have a direct impact and benefit to my students. It allows me to see traditional materials in new ways or examine and deliver the content in new ways. The conversations and ideas that are shared, I am the member of an amazing staff team in this regard, and the readings and exchanges that I am able to engage in with other educators both within the province, the nation and abroad first make me realize how little I actually know, and secondly, create a powerful motivating force to go and find out more about my chosen profession and subject matter. This I bring back with me to the classroom level where I feel that it translates into increased enthusiasm on my part – which I hope translates into increased motivation and desire to inquire on the part of my students.

The practice of sharing some of these learning experiences directly with my students allows them to see that they are not the only ones that are engaged in learning; that it is a journey that we are all on together, just at different points along the path.

So, what makes you passionate about what you do? How do you engage in being a life long learner?

Published in: on November 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I engage in being a life long learner by stepping outside my comfort zones and taking risks. Comfort or complacency is soul death for me. Thanks for your well written post and reminder. Take care.

  2. I could not agree more about working outside the comfort zone – it is there that we experience the little adrenaline rush that, as with athletes, tends to improve performance and lets us know we are alive!

    PS Thanks for being the first person to comment on my blog. I am afraid that there is no prize other than my sincerest thanks.


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