Everyone can be labeled a “learner” from the day they are born to the day they die. It is something everyone has the privilege of, although some may not have as many resources as others. Every person has a different journey of how they learn. Whether they are from a country where learning is not a priority or they are from a country where learning is vastly important. I was able to be a part the latter, and I am here to tell you about my journey.
In the beginning I was labeled as one of the “smartest” kids in my class. Although my class size was small and the town I lived in was not impressively large, I still felt like I was on the right track to becoming a genius. Yes, I know, I sound full of myself, but I was in elementary school and becoming a genius was what every parent dreamt of for his or her child. At this point in time, I loved learning. I would be excited to go to school and be a part of each lesson the teacher had to offer that day. I couldn’t understand why some kids hated school. Throughout kindergarten up until 5th grade things were great and I was really taking in everything I was taught.
Photo CC by: J. Stephen Conn (retrieved from http://www.flickr.com)
When I got to 5th grade, it was a real game changer for me. My 5th grade teacher was the one teacher I could not impress one bit. She was strict and scary. I learned later on in college that a good teacher should somehow relate to each of his or her students in order to create a relationship with them. This teacher did not do that at all. She is what I like to call a bad teacher and it really messed with how I learned. At this point in time I began receiving C’s and sometimes D’s. She graded things really tough and it discouraged me. I felt that I was becoming dumb and I could not come back from it. I never went to speak to the teacher to try and determine what I could do in order to get better grades, because I feared her rejection. That is when basketball began to take over my life.
Photo CC by: Chris Devers (retrieved from http://www.flickr.com)
Basketball was something I was decent at and I continued to get better as I got into high school. Education was put on the back burner at this point, but it was not completely forgotten. In order to participate in sports I was not allowed to have any F’s. That being said, I did just what I needed to do in order to get by. That means if I received a D in a class I would by satisfied as long as I could play sports. Learning was no longer fun for me and it seemed kind of like a job at the time. I wanted to focus on basketball and not have to worry about learning in the classroom. I was not looking at colleges for their education; I was looking at where I could possibly play basketball. I quickly learned that basketball would not get me much farther in life.
Photo CC by: Dimitri Goderdzishvili (retrieved from http://www.flickr.com)
My freshman year of college I did a lot of soul searching. I got accepted to play college basketball, but quit only after a month of being there. I was not happy and it did not feel the same as it did in high school. I was confused and I did not know who I was exactly. I learned a lot about myself that year. I also learned that I wanted to become a teacher and I wanted to make sure students knew that although learning is a priority in our country, it is something you will need in order to make something of your life as you grow. I started focusing on my academics so I could become a teacher, but I still only worked only as hard as I needed to in order to pass. It was not until the past year that I received a wake up call that would change how I learned forever.
Photo CC by: Pennie Mills (retrieved from http://www.flickr.com)
I had just finished my first semester of my junior year of college and I had a professor speak to me about becoming a teacher in the future. She basically told me that I was not ready and she did not know if I would ever be ready to become a teacher. This was a huge slap in the face because I had spent so much time and money on this degree that I could not think about switching. I did not want to switch. At first I was angry with her and I felt that she was out of place, but after some time to myself I realized she was right. It would not be fair to the students I would some someday teach if I only taught them what they needed to in order to just get by. My students deserve more than that. I began taking my studies really seriously and I made goals for myself that I have never achieved, but felt I had the full potential to achieve. I ended up making the Dean’s list in the last semester and I felt proud of myself for the first time since I played basketball in high school. I feel confident that I am able to continue learning each day and be able to take it to my future classroom and help others strive to be the best they can be.
Photo CC by: chelle2u2008 (retrieved from http://www.flickr.com)
The journey I took to become the learner I am today was definitely hard, but it was all worth it. I feel confident in myself as a learner and I want to be able to share that with others who are relying on me to become great learners themselves.