Degrees and Certifications:
What is learning?
Learning means thinking with one's own mind, a vital, ever-available resource. It means there is a process going on that is exciting and worthwhile. Learning means there are surprises and discoveries and disappointments and mistakes and new discoveries all over again. Learning helps each of us connect all our pieces together, and in turn, it allows us to connect our pieces to the pieces from others. Learning takes place all around us, all the time, and often, we have only our gray matter and our senses as our guides.
I have always enjoyed learning, studying, and writing, and that is what I model for students. There is such a reward in the freedom and power of using one's own brain and thinking one's own thoughts. I set high and reachable expectations, and I challenge students to reach their highest potential, with no acceptance of ubiquitous excuses and defensive justifications in the name of mediocrity. I once heard that average is as close to the top as it is to the bottom, and accepting that as true, I see no reason not to reach for the top.
What is the difference between learning and thinking?
Learning is all the things you know. It's the things you've memorized, used, repeated, and remembered. You KNOW what you've learned. Thinking is simply figuring out what more you need to know so you can learn it. THINKING TAKES PATIENCE. When you don't know something, you have to be patient and think about it until you figure out. Guess what happens after you figure it out? YOU'VE LEARNED IT!
Why is reading outside of class important?
Reading exposes us to new vocabulary, various writing styles, new ideas, and imaginary worlds. A book can make you laugh or cry. A book can make you think. A book can transport you to new worlds with amazing characters (some fantastical and imaginary, others so real and relatable, you think the story is about you). Oh, I'm not talking about reading on one's phone, either. I'm talking about reading books, short stories, poems, essays, magazine articles, and more! Read before you go to sleep at night. Read out loud to a younger sibling. Read while riding in the car (as long as you don't get queasy, that is). Read while you are waiting in line. The more you read, the more you will know. The more you know, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more ability you have to think and solve problems. Need some author or poet suggestions? Try these: Roald Dahl, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Langston Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe, Amy Tan, Mark Twain, Pablo Neruda, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, e.e. cummings (yes, lower case...), and so, so many more!