Lifelong Learner or Just Easily Bored?

Lifelong Learner or Just Easily Bored?

I consider myself fortunate to live in an age where “Lifelong Learning” is an admirable thing.  I’m afraid I’d be considered fickle or flighty if I lived in an earlier era. Every few years I feel the need to do something Different. I’ve gone back to school. Twice.  I’ve changed jobs. More than twice. I sign up for every technology training I can, which is what landed me here.  I’m happy to see tools that I’ve never heard of on the schedule and I look forward to the mental exercise of learning something new.  I feel very comfortable tackling the learning tasks that will be presented here.   The itch for a real challenge won’t be ignored.

This year I decided to try something really different and way out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a triathalon. Never mind that I can barely swim.  Oh, and I’m afraid to ride a bike with people around me. I signed up anyway. I think it will be a good thing for me to feel the fear and uncertainty that so many kids feel every day in school.  Kids come in not knowing how to read or write or add and we expect them to believe they can learn.  We tell them to work hard and success will follow.  Easy words to say.  Hard words to believe when facing a task that seems impossible. I’m old enough and experienced enough to know logically that I can  learn how to overcome my obstacles, but that has not been enough to erase the emotional fear that comes over me every time I think about getting into a pool or riding my bike outside the safety of the cycle studio.  I’m not talking so much about fear of failure; I’m talking about fear of looking foolish.  Wow.  That fear is strong! Strong enough to make me want to quit. Strong enough to make me wish I hadn’t told so many people about my plans.  To wish my dear spouse hadn’t spent so much money on a nice new bike for me. What on earth made this middle-aged overweight woman think she has any business doing a triathalon?

Writing about it is scary too.  Will the readers laugh at me along with the swimmers and bikers?

I am becoming much more sensitive to what my students feel when presented with something new or unfamiliar.  My desire to quit Iron Girl training rather than look stupid has been eye-opening.  No wonder some kids don’t seem to try.  Not trying feels SO MUCH SAFER! Hmm, did I just stumble on a reason why some teachers are reluctant to try these new web 2.0 tools we want to share with them?


7 thoughts on “Lifelong Learner or Just Easily Bored?

  1. All I can say is “wow” – I am so impressed that you are training for a triathlon. That is one heavy-duty commitment. I suspect that your willingness to challenge yourself has kept you relevant in your library and teaching too. I find that students are fascinated with teachers who push themselves. What a great role model – for technology and for life!

  2. I, too, have been recently musing on the blessing of being middle aged at a time when ’50 is the new 30′! No one is expecting us to retire to the rocking chair with an afghan anytime soon! Thank goodness or I’d be rocking the boat. Say what you will about the issues of our time, the appreciation for lifelong learning and lifelong activity is one of the positives we can be grateful for!
    Good on you for going for the triathlon! You have my great admiration for getting out there despite your hesitation. Be stubborn. Stick with it. And then, it’s amazing how it happens – just take one workout at a time and suddenly you don’t feel right when you haven’t had one. You will love the experience and I hope you hold your head up high with pride for what you’re doing!
    Good luck with the program! Look around and enjoy and comment on some of your colleagues blogs too!
    Cheers, Barbara

  3. I took a course last year on working with teachers as a teacher librarian. Each of us interviewed teacher librarians, and shared our findings. The common threads were that teachers were incredibly busy, so they were most receptive to tools, resources, and support from librarians that made their jobs easier. Some of what worked well: being opportunistic about meeting needs that come up in conversation, handing them materials that support their curriculum, volunteering for projects that help them look good, cool collaborations with the classes of the most receptive teachers so that others see what you can offer.

    So introducing them to Web 2.0 probably isn’t so much a case of “Hey, you should learn this one (on top of everything else you’re doing),” but having enough in your own toolkit that you can show them easier ways to do things. Sneak in different tools where they’re appropriate, like scheduling meetings in Doodle, or if there’s something that’s great for a class project and you can be the one to teach and support students in using that tool. Show the teachers what you know that they can apply, and they may remember to go to you when they’re wondering what’s possible.

    What has worked well for you so far?

  4. I admire your willingness to step out and learn new things. I believe you are a great role model and teacher. I may need to pick your brains more if we really do the consolidation this fall with MHP becoming a k-5 school.
    Keep up the good work with the triathlon. I worked on a short distance event last summer (in the water, with my kayak) and nearly got hooked myself. I’m training for high altitude hiking with my daughter in Colorado and have been racking up treadmill miles.

  5. Totally agree with you on the lifelong learner thing! I always remember my dad talking about the Jack of All Trades, Master of None, like it was a bad thing, but I feel in my life it has been quite enriching to have a wide variety of interests and activities to both express myself and explore the world around me. Good luck on the triathlon! I’m just getting back into working out (I have a friend who is becoming a personal trainer, and boy is she taking full advantage of her friends as guinea pigs right now) and I feel you on how hard it can be to really get into it, especially because of the fear of what others think! You would think we’d have outgrown that more “adolescent” part of our brains but its still there! I’m sure you’ll do just great! Looking forward to more of your posts!

  6. I admire you for challenging yourself, and I share your belief in being a life-long learner. This mindset is one that I am constantly pushing my students as well as my own children, to incorporate into their everyday thinking. Our minds are designed for constant learning. It’s sad when people turn that part of themselves off. Good luck on your triathalon! Your hard work and determination will help you succeed!

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