Holding up a pair of tweezers (for a Simple Machines and Tools lesson), my son’s wonderful first-grade teacher asked, “What can we use these for?”
Students gleefully answered the expected “To pick up small things” and “To get my splinters out.”
As she set them down to pick up the next tool, my son waved his hand wildly and cried, “Wait! Wait! There’s one more thing!”
She could tell it must be important, so she said, “Yes, what did we miss?”
“My mom uses those to get hairs off her chin.”
That former six-year-old boy is now in his third year of med school. I recently sent him a text asking when his laser hair-removal training is. Sadly, the answer was not for years. But this will help me encourage him to be a lifelong learner.
Sometimes learning is fun. We were learning about metamorphosis this morning in kindergarten, and in addition to learning the life cycle of a butterfly, we learned how to tell the difference between frogs and toads.
Sometimes learning is brutal. Like how to efficiently get back into the teams meeting when I have been inexplicably kicked out of the aforementioned kindergarten classroom, or how to help frustrated five-year-olds navigate to a website when I can’t see their screens.
Sometimes learning is energizing. I have a long list of professional books that have pushed my thinking, refined my practice, and breathed new life into my work with students of all ages. I have an equally long list of professionals, teammates, and colleagues whom I have watched, conversed with, and learned from. Anything you observe in me that would make you say, “Wow, she’s a good teacher” was learned from someone else.
I think learning can be part of our self-care routine. Whether it is a skill, hobby, or refinement to our professional practice, learning can give our minds and souls a joyful boost. That is something we can all use right now. So, what do you want to learn? If it is a new skill or hobby, get out there and find the book, website, or person who can teach you what you want to know. If it’s something to refine your practice, you’ll find a myriad of resources right here.
Speaking of self-care, I’ve got to go. I just felt a whisker.