I think that I have always seen myself as an intelligent person, and an eager learner. From a young age I was an “over-achiever” and someone who always went above and beyond the scope of any school assignment, not for the extra marks, but because I was truly interested in learning more about whatever I was tasked to research or report on. I was bored by the monotony of some school classes, but enjoyed learning so much that I tried to find my own ways to continually seek new information. I became somewhat of a walking bank of useless facts. I enjoyed reading almanacs, world record books, and any type of history book. As I grew I still did this, and then began sharing my new-found knowledge with friends. Sometimes it could be in a conversation, or in a landslide win in Trivial Pursuit. Whatever the method, I was always the “knowledgable” one of my friends, and I think a lot of people would still categorize me in this way today.
As I now pursue my bachelor of education degree, intent on teaching students in schools, the question is how this “Knowledgable Kendra” categorization will change, or if in fact it will. Teachers, being a publicly funded profession, are in the public eye. People see them as very purposeful, yet feel it within their rights to criticize their job. Some people don’t seem to agree that a teacher’s personal opinions should enter the classroom and should certainly not be voiced to the public, and others seem to think that it is necessary for teachers to do this. So, where do I fit in on this argument? Am I a public intellectual? Are my opinions important both in an out of the classroom? Do my opinions matter? Who should I be educating?
I think that I am entering this profession in a very opportunistic period of history. It is a point in time where education is at the forefront of many peoples’ agendas, as they can see the extreme benefits from being well educated and equipped with skills and tools that will aid them in the ever-changing world that we live in. The problem, in my view, is that too many people are trying to press their opinions onto the field of education who do not understand the true core of the field itself and its need to shift and adapt over time. I truly side with Sir Ken Robinson, an international advisor on education, who’s many ideas point out the problems with today’s systems of education. I strongly believe that it is because so many people are stuck in the past ways of education that they do not see the value in the changes being made to the current systems.
I believe that it is part of my job as a teacher to educate the public about education. I believe that it is my job to educate parents about why I feel their children need to address issues like identity, sexuality, racism, cultural genocide, and the movements being created to bring these issues to the forefront of the public eye. I believe that I can use my knowledge to the advantage of my students and those in the communities I work in. I think that while the digital age has allowed us instant access to information at our fingertips, too many people do not know how to critically assess this information and differentiate what is important from what is not.
I also strongly believe that my job as a learner is never over, and when it is, I should no longer be a teacher. I think that the job of a teacher is just as much about learning as it is about teaching. A teacher’s role is to be constantly learning, and filtering information in order to bring the best to his or her students. I think that as a result of this constant quest for knowledge, it is just natural that the information spills over to the world around us. Over the course of my degree so far I constantly hear from my husband about how much he is learning about the world we live in through the information I share, and how grateful he is for it. It is because of the information that I share with my family and friends that they are able to be more informed about the world, and are able to delve deeper into those areas that interest them the most. It is this thirst for knowledge, and the ability to share it that have confirmed my passion for wanting to become a teacher.
While I know that the world of education is not always an easy one, and can be filled with many uphill battles, I know that it is where I am meant to be. I know that my quest for knowledge and education will only better my students, and it is not only my hope that I can be the one who can share my knowledge, passions, and quests for understanding with those around me, but that my students can be also. My commitment to education runs deep, and will continue to pour over outside of my classroom.