Digging Deeper

Teaching by Example

At the beginning of every school year, I share the following quote with my students, “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”  It’s the most important thing I say them.  I want my kids to know that courage is way more important than anything I teach them about language arts.  Because really, I think it’s a building block of learning.  I’ve met so many brilliant students who have so many abilities, but they don’t have anyone to offer them the gift of confidence- the ability to step out into the unknown.

But, it’s easy for me to ramble on to them about courage and then continue on with my normal routine.  And perhaps they are thinking the same thing- “That’s easy for you to say, Mrs. Derstine.  You are already doing what you want with your life.”

Then, a colleague tells me about the opportunity to become a Kenan Fellow… enter an opportunity to “lose sight of the shore.”  Here is my opportunity to become a better teacher.  And, it has everything to do with stepping outside my comfort zone.  I mean, after all I’m a language arts teacher jumping into a STEM fellowship.

In the midst of all the “unknowns,”  I’m trying to focus on the ocean of opportunity in front of me.  And, while that might sound cheesy, it’s true.  I’m hoping to become a more well-rounded individual and teacher.  To me, science is the perfect way to do this.

Sometimes I feel like my kids get so excited about the hands-on experience in their science labs, and I wonder about the “draw” that science holds on so many people.  Why do they get so excited?  I’m determined to find out and apply that excitement to the classroom.  Maybe in some way it will help me to reach at least one of my students in a new way.  Even further, maybe if I can just touch these new waters, I’ll be encouraging another teacher to do the same.  Yes, I’m terrified to fail or maybe even more terrified of being mediocre… but, don’t my students have the same fears?  If I can’t put myself out there, they never will.

So I guess, here’s to taking one step forward and leaving the shore…

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