As I approach the end of my collegiate career, I am already considering what other avenues I can take to further my education. Finals week has come and gone and with it the relief of making it through another semester. While I would not say that I am ready to push straight into a full-time Master’s program, I believe that there are ways that we can choose to be learners each and every day. There is a great big world out there just waiting to be explored and I am going to experience as much as I can while I have the chance.
My Education professors throughout college repeatedly told my classmates and myself that, as teachers, we are called to be life-long learners. We do not know it all, as much as we would like to think that we do. In order to be the best teachers for our students, we have to recognize this fact so that we can make the conscious effort to grow ourselves throughout the changing generations.
But can an old dog learn new tricks?
Absolutely. It might be uncomfortable and challenging at first, but if the rewards outweigh the effort, then it all becomes worth it. Keeping up with the times and all the information that is available seems nearly impossible-I can’t even keep up with the updates on my iPhone. The impact that choosing to continue learning can have on one’s life and those with whom that person interacts is amazing and inspiring. In my experience, everyone loves a good story; we all have the chance right now to create a unique one of our own.
You may be reading this thinking that you don’t want to go back to school or know all that you need to know for your occupation. But why let your knowledge stop there? There is always more to be learned about other cultures, new technology, other people, or various additional aspects of the world around you. Here are my tips for you:
Learn a new word. We could all benefit from having a larger, deeper vocabulary from which to draw. For professionals, acquiring new words for the workplace can set you above the rest, making you stand out simply by the way you speak. For travelers or adventurers at heart, learn a new language piece-by-piece. I have studied Spanish academically for years, but there is always more to learn. I may even try to pick up more Sign Language-you never know what doors that can open!
Try something new. Go to a painting class, join a gym, have dinner at that new restaurant in town. Getting out of the house and doing something out of your routine makes the world seem a little bigger. It can seem like trying something new requires too much effort or costs too much. I recommend taking it one step at a time. Maybe try something new with a friend or a loved one once a month. This gives it the feel of being special and not an everyday occurrence. Before you know it, you will have a better knowledge of the place in which you live and can be a tour guide for your family and friends.
As a teacher, remaining a life-long learner even when my formal education is completed is crucial so that I can be the best teacher for the generations of students that I will have. Choosing to learn and grow each day, though, is something that makes us well-rounded and unique individuals. Our environment largely shapes our experiences and knowledge, so what we surround ourselves with has a great impact. Daily learning a new word or skill, trying a new activity or restaurant monthly or a few times a year, and traveling when given the opportunity can show just how big this “small world” is.
You only get one life to live-I say live it big.
Shelby is a Senior Elementary Education major with a Spanish minor. She works as a barista and spends mornings in a 2nd grade class as a student teacher. As an Air Force brat, she has moved all around the United States and traveled to several other countries. In her free time, Shelby loves spending time with her family, adventuring with her boyfriend, and making memories with her friends. In every area of her life, God comes first, although she has to remind herself to trust Him in every situation. Through writing, Shelby hopes to show people the great grace of her Savior and how to live life to the fullest.