I have struggled with this blog over the years—keeping up with it, deciding what and how much to include. The truth is, I am interested in many things, but in recent years, as I’ve learned more about myself and who I really am (and more importantly, what I let myself be), my passions may be many, but they all tend toward one major part of my life: education.
I started teaching officially seven years ago, but my love of learning from a very young age put me on a path toward teaching much earlier. Ever since I learned to speak, read, and write, speaking, reading, and writing have been how I’ve come to experience and make sense of the world around me. Reading was my escape, my refuge—writing my way to reconnect with the larger world—speaking my way of challenging myself to keep learning, to keep engaging with my own thoughts as they interacted with the thoughts of others.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at listening to others. I am not, I will admit, a great listener. Sure, I follow the usual conventions of other good listeners, but I am not truly listening as often as I would like. I find it takes great mental energy to quiet a very busy inner thought cycle, to be in the moment with another speaker, and to just appreciate the words as they come out of the other person’s mouth, enter my ears, and are translated into meaning by my brain.
While working to actually listen to others, I’ve learned some things about myself. As much as I would like to put many other interests side by side in priority and focus, education keeps surpassing all others. I am obsessed with teaching and learning. I talk about it all the time, and sometimes, with people I am told over and over by others I should absolutely not be talking to about education. But I am glad, in this case, I don’t listen to that advice.
Here’s the thing about listening: when you start practicing it and working to improve it, you realize that some people and ideas are just not worth listening to. It seems like a mean truth, but there it is all the same. Not all things are equal in life—everybody deserves the right to be heard, to be listened to, but that doesn’t mean that everybody deserves to be heard and listened to all the time.
If I had listened to those who told me to stop talking about education, to stop talking about in that way and with those people, then I would have missed what was happening: because I was practicing how to speak, to listen, to engage with this complicated idea of education in our country, I was getting good at speaking, listening, and engaging with education. I teach and have for several years, but that is not why I am good at engaging with education. I am good at engaging with education because I have a passion for it and have dedicated some serious mental energy, hard work, and time.
So while I would like this blog to feature some of the other amazing and beautiful things that others’ blogs inspire in me, I must stick with what I am learning is my greatest love: education. I don’t know yet what that will entail, but I am excited to begin again.