Monthly Archives: December 2017

learning alongside

Today we’re writing about what we’ve learned over the course of the semester about writing and teaching. The prompt is aimed CO301D classmates, but I have to say that one of the things that keeps me in teaching is being a learner alongside my students. I’ve had hard days and joyful days and everything in between over the past 30 years, but in my daily work with students, I’ve never been bored–challenged, discouraged, inspired, yes, but bored never.

When I began teaching, this was unexpected. That’s probably because I was so nervous about being the authority figure, THE knower, in the room, that it didn’t occur to me that I could and should also model learning for my students. Those days, the connection between knowing and learning was tentative at best, and the worst thing I thought I could do was appear tentative in front of a group of 14-year-olds. (P.S.: Since I also looked 14, that was actually a good call a lot of the time.)

But the act of teaching necessarily begs learning, whether we acknowledge it or not. And learning requires vulnerability. And vulnerability is a two-sided coin that is characterized by bliss and folly. (Cf the New Belgium Folly Pack and their motto, by of Joseph Campbell, to “follow your bliss.”)

Welp, I’m pretty sure I just said that the maintaining a generative professional mindset that allows you to learn alongside your students also requires beer.  Happy hour awaits, my friends. Cheers.