I’m going back to school today. This should be the best educational experience of my life, because it’s backed by the most experience and motivated by the clearest sense of purpose I’ve ever directed towards an academic pursuit. Experience and purpose are powerful ingredients in education.
In our work of education and formation, though, many of the young people we work with are both inexperienced and unmotivated. They don’t know all the things they don’t know, and they’re there because their parents make them be.* The motivated ones are the easiest to teach and feel, right away, the most rewarding, because they validate our interest in our subject, be it the book of Genesis or T.S. Eliot.
The best teachers learn how to fashion what they need to do the work, even if out of thin air. My 12th grade English teacher created shared classroom experiences of literature that grounded learning and sparked motivation. I’m certain it took him decades in the profession to learn how to do that.
Here’s to school and the best teachers, the ones who never stop learning.
*Yes, I just used “they’re,” “there,” and “their” in the same sentence