This experience began as a chance to put my money where my mouth is. After years of promoting (and yes, requiring) reflective practice with my own students, I figured it was time to practice what I preach. At first, it seemed challenging to know what to write. My mind swam with thoughts surrounding the justification of my discipline, which sadly is a cause to advocate. It was a valuable exercise to take the time to articulate those issues surrounding my field. When I was new to Early Childhood Education, my passion was exploding. I felt like it was necessary to climb mountain tops to promote the research that validated the need for MORE attention to be given to our youngest citizens of the world. Now, fifteen years into this part of my career twist, I sometimes forget that what I’m teaching, promoting, advocating for is new to my students. Regardless if I have shared the same information a hundred zillion times (I couldn’t resist, that is a ‘kid number’, right?), I have to remember that it may be their first experience with the material. Even IF students feel they ‘know it already’, it remains my responsibility to present it with fresh enthusiasm and passion.
Upon reflecting on the last 9 weeks of writing, I did notice several things about my practice:
*Yes, I like to write! I started out as a journalism major in college. A mentor suggested that rather than majoring in something about writing, perhaps majoring in something I was passionate about would provide me with a topic for writing. Yep! Those were wise words,and I’m grateful that my career took this turn. Writing this blog rekindled my love of writing and I hope to continue in some capacity.
*I do love my job! Even though thoughts of being worn out, bogged down and over committed does seem to be a theme, coming eye to eye with my chosen profession has reignited a passion.The trick now is to really look at choice I may have to make the position more balanced, and less stretched. I cannot give my students my best if I am stretched too thin.
*We’re surrounded by amazingly brilliant people! I have always known that we can learn so much from one another. As a matter of fact, our office neighbors, department mates and committee colleagues all have much to share. The nature of our work at the college level does feel isolating. (compared to working with teammates in the public school setting). It was common practice for my 17 years in the classroom to plan together, use everyone’s strengths to accomplish tasks and most importantly, laugh! Writing is powerful, but just hanging out with others in a culture that promotes conversation, community, support, humor and care is irreplaceable.
This was a valuable experience for me. An opportunity to look in the mirror. If my work here is a reflection of me- then I have learned something. Learning- yep, that’s why we’re here.
So Todd, I think you can say, “mission accomplished”. Thanks for driving this 9x9x25 bus along the way!