Once upon a time there was a girl. She really wanted to be a teacher. She often lined up all her friends in rows and stood in front to ‘teach’ them in the yard, or the basement, or the garage. In fact, when she was in the second grade, her teacher, Mrs. Anderson, assigned her the task of working with a classmate who was struggling to learn how to read. The little girl loved showing him how to sound out the words.
Learning came easily to her, but she was drawn to those for whom it didn’t. It was a challenge to figure out how to explain things in ways that they could understand.
Her experiences as she grew included babysitting, teaching Sunday school, working at a day care center or two, more babysitting, student teaching, and finally a college degree and teaching certificate. As a young woman, she took her first teaching position as a teacher of learning disabled students in a little classroom in an old building in Detroit.
She moved on to resource rooms at two high schools and then a residential school for emotionally impaired teenagers. In each of these places, she had the title ‘teacher’, but she was actually a student. She was learning so much about herself, about her students, and about learning. Yes, she had taken methods classes in college. She had studied Shakespeare and Faulkner, Piaget, and Maslow. But the real learning began amidst countless adolescents who would become her teachers.
And it didn’t stop there. Her intensive training started when she married a man with a four-year-old son. It continued when she gave birth to not one, not two, but three babies in three years. She began an adventure in ‘homeschooling’ which again taught her more than it did any of her students.
The master’s program she enrolled in introduced her to topics like hegemony, code-switching, and mushfaking, sure. But her time in the trenches, two community colleges and two high schools, ingrained in her the knowledge that relationships are more important than curriculum, that process is more important than product, and that being is more important than doing.
And, now? Now is the advanced individualized course in self-awareness and reliance on God. Some people take introductory courses in this topic, but this girl has been pretty darn busy in her other educational pursuits. Alas, it is never too late for a girl to learn the basics.
She is learning them from The Teacher through His Word, yes, but also through experience, relationships, and the learning method that works best for her — writing. It’s a multi-modal approach, designed specifically for this learner. It takes into account the other lessons she has had and allows for multiple assessments with an eye toward mastery. Failure is not an option. The Teacher has ensured it.
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy-laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.