I hated school, so I became a teacher…

Anyone? Anyone?

I know you’ve seen that video clip a million times, but it captures my education and makes you wonder how on earth many of us went into the business to start with.

How often do we talk about our educational experience as a history of how we learned? I’ve heard many times that we teach how we learned. That is scary because for me because it wasn’t pretty. I had a couple of good teachers, but it was mostly stand and deliver in such a soul crushing way I still don’t know how I decided to become one.

At our school, we have a new faculty retreat and one of my favorite exercises with the new staff is to have them draw a history of their education and talk about it with their peers. It’s amazing what comes out of it. Not only do I learn about the type of people they are but it tells so much about how they interact with their profession and actually teach others. I wish we had time to do such exercises in the interview process. British systems, Canadian, Czech, Australian, Swiss. It’s amazing how disparate their educational experiences were and how it affects their interaction with our audience. It’s truly an experiment.

The noblest in our profession got into it because we are maybe passionate about a subject matter that for some reason we didn’t pursue as a career, or maybe we really like igniting that spark of learning, the energy of youth and the world of possibility. It’s all good stuff. I actually liked my critical thinking classes in history which is how I went after a degree in politics and pursued my passion to get others involved in the same. It led to my strong belief that young people can and should make a difference in the communities around them and thus a pursuit of service learning before it really had a name. I guess that part of school was okay.

It’s worth it to sit down and write your education history. Share it with others and discuss. How did you get where you are? Did you hate school? Was there a passion that you didn’t pursue or maybe something that you hope to ignite in others? Is there a passion that still drives you? I have to say, the dialogue that is happening now around learning has actually recharged my batteries and my passion around what I do. I still kind of hate school. But wow, do I love learning.

About Stephen Dexter, Jr.

Stephen is an international educator and administrator. A native of the United States, he lives with his wife Stephanie (a specialist in families in global transition) in Croatia along with his daughter and son. With a career that spans over twenty years in public, private and international schools, he writes when he can and is on a quest to discover if "text walking" is changing the human brain.
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