Have you ever asked your students or your own children the age old question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I must have heard and asked it a thousand times in my lifetime, yet I find that I haven’t really asked it recently of any students. In fact, the only person I’ve asked that of lately is myself. When I analyze this a little further, I have broken it into two essential reasons and elements.
First, I don’t really ask my students about what they want to be in the future anymore. How can I? Who can begin to predict what the future will hold for them as far as the job market? The possibilities are truly unimaginable. So, I often wonder how I can approach the task of helping to prepare my students for their futures. I have to develop them as versatile and creative thinkers and problem solvers. I also have to offer them chances to explore a large variety of topics and interests. When offering my students the chance to learn about their passions, I can afford them the ability to make these interests into a living. So, why ask kids what they want to be when they grow up? The opportunities of my adulthood, like world connections and interest based learning, belong to our youngest generations. I want to help students be who they want to be today.
When considering the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, I find that I am asking myself that frequently. Now, in case you are wondering, I have been teaching grades three through six for over twelve years. I have pursued additional certifications for teaching and my National Board Certification. I am constantly learning and pursuing knowledge, yet I have not sought a Masters’ Degree. Why not? Well, at thirty-three, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. People are always telling me what they think I am good at, what I should do. Go into administration. Work full time in professional development. Work with curriculum and supervision. As I sit here typing this, I am coming to the realization that I can’t recall anyone recommending that I just stay in the classroom. I think that may be a whole new blog post though. So, how do I decide what to be when I grow up? Do I even have to decide? There’s no doubt that, in five or ten more years, there will be positions in education that I can’t even imagine. What I do now, for now, is that I love teaching adults and children. I love learning. I love making myself a better person and educator. And, I find myself more and more resentful of the fact that I need a particular degree for an accredited university to deem me “prepared” to take another step in my career. Again, the idea of assigning value to formal versus informal learning is yet another blog post. Do I need to “grow up” to take another step? Do I want to? That’s a question that will not be answered today, for sure!
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