Last semester I really struggled to identify what I had learned from one month to the next. I don’t know why I find it so important to be aware of my learning and knowledge, but it has become increasingly important to me as I’ve aged. I think it has to do with finally being out of school and not having classes to attend. I don’t want to forget about learning new things and growing stagnant.
One thing I’ve learned/realized about myself is that I don’t like being out of my comfort zone. That’s no surprise because most people don’t; that’s why it’s called a “comfort zone.” However, what I realized is that it’s not because I don’t like feeling uncomfortable or trying new things; it’s the not being prepared part that inhibits me. I feel the need to plan and prepare everything and to know everything I might possibly need to know prior to an event. That takes the learning and the fun out of stepping outside of your comfort zone. So far, I haven’t found a way to stretch my boundaries without preparing ahead of time, so I welcome any suggestions any of you may have in this area.
This semester I started doing daily reflections to help me remember what I learned. I take a few minutes each day and jot down a few notes or ideas about the day with the intent to also add in what I learned that day. To be honest, while I reflect almost every day, I’ve only remembered to add what I learned a few times. However, it does let me go back over the days and remember what I did and what I learned.
For example, on January 4 I noted that self-care, check ups, and stress reduction are vital. Our culture promotes working too much and playing too little, and the cost of health care is prohibitive for many.
On January 11, I learned that many students don’t know how to study. For them, studying is reading over their notes before an exam or reading a textbook without taking notes, annotating, or reviewing key ideas. This shouldn’t have surprised me since I was never taught how to study either. I learned it by preparing to teach it to my EDUC 1300 students.
Finally, on January 18 I learned that oniteku is Navajo for “running dog.” One of my students was named this by his grandmother when he was a baby. It is by far the most interesting thing I’ve learned all month.
What have you learned recently?