“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Then…be like Katniss and burn everyone down with you!
What sets your soul on fire? For me, teaching and learning are constant sparks in my life while sharing and collaborating fan the flames. I can only recall one time in my life when I did not want to become a teacher. (I was a freshman in college and having a bit of an identity crisis.) Some of my earliest memories were playing teacher with my dolls in my bedroom with my easel and chalk. I used old books from my great grandma and my great great grandma who were also teachers. Being a teacher is in my blood. Not just literally, but deep in my soul, a part of who I am. Even when I’m not teaching, I’m teaching. It’s natural, something I just can’t turn off.
As much as I am a teacher, I am also a learner. I can not get my hands on enough information…EVER! Not just any information, but information about the things that make me curious. My mind is constantly asking questions…how does this work? Where did that come from? Why do we do things this way? What other way could we do it? When I find something that catches my curiosity, the search begins!! Watch out world! I’m on a mission! This is my absolute favorite part. The adventure of digging through knowledge and finding jewels of information. Then piecing those jewels together to answer the questions that my mind yearns to answer. It’s exciting and nerve racking at the same time. Once I figure out the answer to my question, you better be ready to hear all about it! I will go around telling any and everyone who will listen to me…even if they really don’t care or have any idea what I’m talking about!
At this point I start lighting everyone on fire with me! You may not have cared about it before now…maybe you didn’t even know to ask the question…but you sure will now and I’ll share with you all of the information I know and where to find it! Here is where it gets really exciting. We get to talk about it and work together to find a solution I may not have thought of or see a question in a light I hadn’t seen before. Without others to share and collaborate with, I really only view the answer or information through my own lens. Others are invaluable to me as a learner. This is the piece of learning that we all too often miss in education.
As a teacher, I strive to teach my students that we are all teachers and learners. I want them to see 30 people in the classroom who have a voice and information that we can learn from. I want them to learn from each other just as much as they do from me…actually even more! I am no longer the disseminator of information in my classroom. My students need to learn how to use their resources to gather the information they need, including each other! I want them to find what lights their soul on fire! I want them to be as passionate about learning as I am! And then…I want them to be like Katniss and burn everyone down with them!