Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Teachers Who Taught Me To Love Learning

Teaching children to love learning-- while I really get psyched about the alphabet and teaching kids to read, my ultimate goal in teaching instill a thirst for knowledge in my students. I want them to learn how to learn, how to discover things on their own.

Throughout my schooling, I've had my fair share of teachers; both good and bad. Luckily, the vast majority of my teachers have been incredible people who have not only taught me content, but also taught me how to learn, how to love, and how to overcome. While I could spend days singing the praises of each teacher who has seen my name on their attendance lists, there are two teachers whose teachings still influencing my day to day life.

I started out on my Spanish adventure in Grade 8 when I had to choose between studying Spanish and French. I continued studying the language throughout all four years of high schools and four years of college. (And still not fluent-- gahh!)

I was in Señora Neumann's class for three out of my four years of high school and traveled to Mexico with her in the summer of 2006 on a class trip. Our AP Spanish class was comprised of the same students who were in the Spanish 4 class the year before, so we were a pretty tight knit bunch. Señora really worked on building relationships with each one of us and I whole-heartedly believe that even the shyest student in the class felt understood and appreciated by her.

Since I had studied so much Spanish in high school and scored slightly above average on the AP test, so as opposed to being in beginner/ intermediate Spanish upon entering high school, I was placed in a 300 level class. Grammar and Composition. I moved through the Spanish classes fairly quickly throughout my first couple of years at Ashland. Taking these Spanish classes also opened the door for me to work with Dr. Rathbun in the Spanish department for three out of my four years there. Between working in her office and being in a number of her classes, Dr. Rathbun and I spent a lot of time together. She pushed me so hard to take advantage of all the Spanish that I knew and to keep practicing. She was always, always, always encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and to take risks. Whenever I would try to justify something by saying that it was hard, or I couldn't speak perfectly, or I was the only girl, she was always there with a story from her life that eliminated all my excuses. Dr. Rathbun wasn't going to let me take the easy way out.

And here I am, living in Honduras for the second year now. Speaking Spanish every day of my life. Stepping out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. There is no way that I would be here today without the influence from both Señora and Dr. Rathbun. Sure, I could have still studied Spanish and had different teachers, but their impacts would have been different on me. Señora and Dr. Rathbun both took time to get to know me, to pour into me as an individual, not only as a student.

I'm not going to be the teacher that teaches every child to love learning, in the same way that I am sure Señora and Dr. Rathbun aren't influencing every student who sits in their classroom the same way that they have influenced me. But they both reached one, they both reached me. And if I can reach one student, if I can pour into a student and push them outside of their comfort zone to reach their full potential, then I'll be able to look back on my teaching career and say that the whole thing was worth it.

1 comment:

  1. What an impact they had and you are having one on your kids, too. It's obvious when I see you teach how much you care for them as individuals. Keep up the good work, Caitlin! I'm proud of you. Love you, Dad