Which way to go with our thoughts?
Without question one of the major keys to success in my teaching has been digging deep with my own thoughts in an effort to find constant meaning in what I do. Not only from my own practitioner perspective but to also try my best to truly look at learning through the eyes of my students. I guess that’s what gets me fired up and has kept me going, day in and day, out over the years.
The inexorable link between teaching and learning is undeniably among the most powerful forces that shapes our journeys as educators. If we stop learning and cease to stay relevant within our profession, teaching can become an incredibly tough job, especially in regards to our own levels of motivation. Staying relevant and continually learning often times requires us to look beyond teaching itself to find tidbits of inspiration that can be infused within the lessons and units we teach to our students.
Whether it be listening to podcasts from various thought leaders across different industries or reading articles and books both inside and outside of education, I always find meaning and relevance that can be specifically applied to the work that I do in education. This does not take away from the fact that striving for deep expertise in my subject area is an absolute priority if I am going to have the impact that I desire on the teachers that I train and the students I teach and coach. Subject area expertise is a constant pursuit that I have embraced for many years.
However, the main point of this blog post is to emphasize just how important it is to keep our eyes and ears open to learning opportunities that exist all around us. One of the best quotes I have come across that emphasizes this point comes from Austin Kleon’s best selling book ‘Steal Like an Artist’. In the book, Austin shares a quote from Jim Jarmusch, an American independent film director. The quote hits the nail on the head when it comes to staying motivated to learn.
Trying to improve and grow as educators requires us to get deeply lost in our own thoughts. It may seem messy, confusing and not make any sense, but in getting lost, we truly end up finding ourselves AND along with it, some powerful ideas that can be used within our teaching. So, go on, get lost, and when you come out of it, I guarantee you’ll be better for it. Happy teaching (and learning).