He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
-John Cotton Dana
I think that if somebody gave me 20 people with shovels and told me to teach them how to dig holes, I would do it. Not that I know how to dig awesome holes, but I would attempt to teach my diggging students do so regardless. As many of my friends know or eventually realized, I belong in and am most comfortable with the classroom or a learning-based setting. I always have been. The classroom is my natural habitat, and when I’m not in it, the world is just awkward. I’m perfectly normal, believe me, but the classroom is a great place. However, I wasn’t fully a “I just knew what I wanted to do” person at first and it took a while for me to realize that the classroom is exactly where I belong.
In elementary and middle school, I was dead set on becoming a journalist and/or news anchor. I watched the news religiously and would write in my journal almost daily. Recently, my brother pulled out home videos and I watched a clip where I “anchored” a segment with a wooden spoon microphone at a family picnic. I wasn’t that informative, but all of the home viewers were alerted that the potato salad was half eaten.
Throughout high school though, I went through career limbo where I would change my mind for what seemed like every day. One day I was a journalist and the other day I was a pharmacist. However, in between the “what I want to be when I grow up” shifts, I always returned to a career centered around reading, writing, or research. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I decided that I wanted to be a high school English teacher. I think that I knew this all along, but it took a while for me to come to the realization of what I was truly happy doing: talking about literature and helping others understand its value.
As I look towards the new semester, I’m hopeful that my education methods classes will teach me how to teach. I’m also confident that my hours as a teaching assistant will do the same. However, I think that as a pre-service teacher, it’s critical that I never stop learning. Thankfully, the state of Kentucky requires all teachers to acquire a master’s degree, so I have an excuse to further my education (not that I need an excuse). Not only will I be a teacher after graduation, but I will continue to be a student. My fellow teachers will teach me. Professors will teach me. Students will teach me. And like many others before me, some people just know that learning should never stop.