When I was a little girl, I was fortunate enough to receive birthday cards from many of my grandparents. These included cards from my Great Grandma and Grandpa White. These cards were particularly special because of the letter that inevitably would accompany each card. Letters from Great Grandma were written in crisp handwriting, speaking volumes of her personality. These were the words of a woman who picked strawberries, walked around a lake everyday, gardened, and quilted until she quietly left us to join my Great Grandfather when she was 90.
Great Grandmas letters were spoken in a simple, wise voice geared to my elementary mind. When I was probably six or seven I received one of these letters. In the letter, Grandma asked me how school was going. As any typical little girl, I would rather play outside, color, dress up my Barbies...anything but school!
She continued in the letter to say how important school and learning were, and that we even continue to learn as adults. My six year old brain exploded. It was horrifying to me, this notion of being an adult and still...learning new things!? What madness. I silently scoffed to myself. There simply had to be a point in life when you either A) knew everything, or B) stopped learning things because you didn't need to know anything else.
Oh! To be a child. And oh, how fortunate to have such a wise great grandmother.
This past May, I graduated from college. A very wise professor told me something I will not soon forget. She said the moment she was awarded her doctoral degree, it dawned on her just how much she didn't know. The vast amount of knowledge out there in our world is...well...vast.
Many people talk about education versus experience. For myself, not earning a degree was never an option. It was simply the next logical step. It was what I thought I had to do to "discover myself." I would say I came a long way...a long way I never thought I would go. Japan is certainly not were I thought I would be even one year ago.
So, here I am. Out of school, or, rather, back in school...I just happened to be on the opposite side of the table. The only formal education I received on the subject of education was my piano pedagogy class. I taught piano for three years and loved it. I had many students who successfully performed in recitals. But teaching English is really quite different.
I am currently in the middle of my third week teaching at Saiei International English Conversation Schools (yes, I meant to use the plural) here in Saitama, Japan. I have probably learned more in the past two and a half weeks then an entire semester in college. I have a fantastic head-trainer who really has a contagious desire to teach and to teach really well. How lucky am I!? To get paid to learn such an incredible new skill is something I am not taking for granted. So here I am. An adult. Out in the "real world." And learning just as much as I learned in school, if not more.
How right my great grandma was.