The Education of Joy

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So I'm sitting here thinking about writing lesson plans, which I haven't had to do in a few years.  I'm thinking about how I can get the curriculum to connect with people who may have not have the same experiences that I have.  How do I make the connection in their brains to make the light come on?   

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^^ This edit is a little too blue for me^^  but here it is.   I could wax poetically about teachers and what a noble profession it is. I could talk about how not everyone can do it. I could talk about data based research methods.  I could talk about how to properly manage a class.  But that is not what education is to me.   That is not why I teach.  That is not why I am a teacher.  I noticed that while shooting portraits I'm constantly educating about photography, why we need certain lighting, why portraits are more difficult than landscapes.   That's when I realized I needed to go back into teaching.   I do not believe it is a "calling,"  but I believe I have something to share with the world, even if it is through education with this blog. 

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Educating is not just about your own knowledge it's about all the people around you who built your knowledge.  It's about Mr. Carlson, Dr. Marble, Dr. Huguenin, Tom Isern, the people of the world whose voices enriched your learning.   The thing about teaching is I can remember almost all of my teachers, some of them have faded out but some of their voices remain strong.   They taught me.  Educated me.  But, I am an intrinsically motivated person. I do not need orders barked at me for me to learn. I don't need to be structured. I need something that sparks my interest.  

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I need to go to a place.  A place that interests me.  It doesn't have to be exotic. It doesn't need to be on the map or filled with tourists. It needs to be a new place, somewhere I've never been. It can teach me something.   

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I like going to places that take away my preconceived notions of where I am.  Our arbitrary geo-physical boundaries do this.   This is Nebraska, when I think of Nebraska I think of where I was raised in Spencer, or I think of the Republican River Valley in SW Nebraska.  I don't think of mountains and trees or badlands.   This was a new experience for me.  

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I don't think about the fur trade in Nebraska, but it was there.  

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I wonder what beautiful things the people who are obsessed with the pedagogy of teaching and learning find in the world?   Do they write objectives for the natural beauty of the world, do they look for research based outcomes for stopping and learning from a historical marker.   You can't spend your life focusing on the metadata and structure of the world.  You can't change the world by teaching people to follow orders and perform.  You have to change the world by discussing why our system is the way it is.  You change the world by teaching people to question the world.  To question the knowledge they have and why they have that knowledge.   We need to enrich education.   We need to teach people to think, not manage people to behave.  


I told my new students that I want to teach them to think.   I want to teach them that I will respect them as young adults if they respect me as an educator.   But, those critical thinking activities that get tossed aside for a multiple choice question is the biggest mistake of the American education system.   It's passion, we have to show our passion to pass on our passion to others.   

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