I had the opportunity to sit in a classroom and observe.
No mandatory participation just observation.
I was able to observe the learning I long participated in for a little more than a decade of my life; in between student and professor, I was neither one. I was able to sit and watch the learning of newcomers to an experience that I have completed.
Observing the prolific professor discuss the content and watch the students take in learning was a different and yet important experience. Watching the students with their different learning styles take in the knowledge then share what they thought gave me something to think about.
As a student I am always concerned with either one of three things:
- How much do I have to participate today? (This depends on the discussion
of the classroom, but never applies to an independent study.)
- What tidbits of information do I have to pay real attention to?
- When is the break? (Three-hour evening courses require a break.)
The great thing about simply sitting in a class and listening with no real stake in the game was observing.
The art of teaching and the art of learning are intertwined.
Watching nervous students learn about their voice and how to express their thoughts is quite fascinating.
Opening up a mind is a fascinating thing; guiding the student to step into the pool of knowledge, tapping into a new found wisdom is the purpose of teaching. What I saw from the perspective of neither student nor teacher was a flower in bloom.
The student beginning to open up to the sunlight nourished by the water of knowledge that feeds you until full bloom; the light of learning grows you.
I am biased about reading and learning but I truly believe there is a sort of magic that happens in a classroom, a magic that roams the halls of education; an aura of transition lingers anywhere you learn.
Taking a step back from learning and viewing from a different perspective; I was able to observe the active process of learning and teaching.
Reflecting on the things I have seen; the teachers and professors I have experienced I have realized that the best instructors are those who can connect with their students; those who can ignite a spark over and over again without effort. Those teachers who do not stand on their pedagogy and recite and retell their pretentious styles or flaunt their letters; but rather those who are not scared to have a real discussion with their students and tell them what is fucked up in their discipline, what is out there in the real world, those who take the time to listen to ideas and those who can engage the mind are those who have the biggest impact. It is those professors who give you the tools but do not tell you where or how to dig for knowledge but work with you in your excavation for personal truth are the ones who shape and guide the changes of tomorrow.
Educators come in all shapes and forms and professions, they are not restricted to a classroom. Sharing knowledge and wisdom in a way that alters a mind, even just one is what matters most. Not the theories or methods or the discipline itself but rather the learning.
Learning is the process that creates ideas and alters thought process which leads to growth.
I did not simply observe a classroom today, I learned.