When was the last time you approached life as a learner? Can you remember the feeling of curiosity that drove you to press deeper into some topic, to ask questions that would push past the obvious and help you make connections to other areas of life?
For me, this happened last weekend as I watched a biopic called Queen of the Desert. I was fascinated by the life of Gertrude Bell (3rd from right), a Victorian debutante who ended up traversing Arabia and influencing the national borders post-Ottoman Empire. How had I never heard of this woman, this maker of kings? After all, I lived in that part of the world for four years. As soon as the movie ended, I had my phone out, researching to see how much of what I’d just seen was based in fact. I’ve now got my eye on a book of her letters that I’m hoping to find in the library on my next trip. My curiosity has been whetted; I’m eager to learn more.
How about you? When is the last time your inquisitive juices got flowing? We’ve all experienced this drive at some point or another. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to take up this mantle of teaching. My hope would be that you’ve experienced this drive to learn in the very recent past. When your imagination is captured by curiosity, learning becomes exciting. It becomes fun!
Now I wonder, when was the last time that you’ve shared this enthusiasm with your students? When did you last share with them something that you were learning and how jazzed you were about the connections you were making? If it’s been a while, you might want to ask yourself why.
Luke 6:40 reminds us that “a student is not above his teacher.” If our students never see the light inside us turned on by the joy of learning, why would we expect that they would approach our classes with eagerness? What is it that we have to offer them, if not the joy of making connections?
As teachers, we are privileged to spend a majority of our waking hours walking and living among our students. Our lives and our attitudes influence our students’ education far more than our stated curriculum ever will. I’ve never heard adults talk about their favourite lesson plan from when they were in school. But I hear discussions about favourite teachers all the time. So I challenge you, the next time you find yourself jazzed about something new you are learning—whether that be the way ancient kingdoms align with the Bible stories you learned in Sunday school or the latest recipe you’ve discovered for making a yummy autumn treat—share this joy with your students. Let them in on the secret: learning is fun! It’s part of what we were created to do.
Becky Hunsberger, M.Ed.
Coordinator of Teacher Education Services
Photo Credits: Gertrude Bell. via Flickr. public domain image. Elementary Pupils Geography Class with Teacher. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com.