Push pins on a white background.Not Everything You See Has A Place In Your Classroom

by Kay Bisaillion, Teacher

I am doing something I have wanted to do for many years–going back to school and continuing my education.

I have cut back my hours at school and registered for classes. I am taking classes in a real classroom with real professors in a face-to-face setting. (Confession? I tried to register for many online classes but they were already full.)

Last week, I went to the campus and found the buildings and classrooms I will be attending. While on campus, I browsed the school bookstore and fought the urge to buy mugs, key chains and hooded sweatshirts. I did buy a planner, new binders, notebooks and organized them in a pretty new book-bag. I ordered my ridiculously expensive but necessary books.  I am excited. I am grateful for this opportunity in my life. I am also very nervous.

I know I am the 40 (something…mumble mumble mumble) year old in the corner who will make the casual observer sing that Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other…” I am sure I will get a roll of the eyes and a look or two from classmates that says, “Great…Curve breaker.”

I hope I am the curve breaker in the group! I can’t guarantee it though. I will guarantee I am going to work hard, do the assignments, and learn eagerly.

I get to learn! How exciting is that!? I am passionate about learning. I love learning new things, pushing myself to discover new ideas, new paths, and new approaches.

As educators, I believe we forget how important it is to be learners first and teachers second. Understandably, educators become overwhelmed with data, papers, emails, lesson plans, picture money, grading.

The list could go on and on.

We forget to allow ourselves the luxury of carving out some time for personal learning. How can we instill a love of learning to all those eager faces before us if we have forgotten how amazing it is to learn something new ourselves?

Reading a blog, spending time in Twitter chats, attending workshops and Edcamps, or even discussing interesting topics with a colleague for no other reason than to learn is important. Do you find yourself immediately thinking, “How can I add this to a lesson?” or “How do I use this in my classroom?”

Here’s an idea: don’t use it in your lessons or your classroom. Learn something new for you and not for any other reason. Just for you–for now. Perhaps the tool or idea will find the way into your lessons, but for now just enjoy the learning. Not everything you see has to have a place in your classroom.

Perhaps this is one of the reason Pinterest is so popular. Many educators gave themselves the luxury to “pin” cocktails, crafts, and recipes long before they discovered the educational focus. After owning the fun and learning with Pinterest for personal reasons, the professional aspect grew naturally.

I am so excited to get to don my student hat for awhile. I plan to blog about seeing the classroom experience as a student once again…through the eyes of an educator.

I hope you will join me on my journey and we can enjoy learning, just for the joy of learning, together.

You can follow Kay on twitter @kaybisaillon; Not Everything You See Has A Place In Your Classroom; image attribution flickr user danzen