Happy to Learn by Rebekah Forsey, SED 2016
This is Happiness. She lives in an orphanage in Tanzania. One of the days I was with her this summer she grabbed my hand, said “njoo” (come), and pulled me away from my seat on the porch. We began walking around the grounds of the orphanage. As we walked past the row of flowers I began telling her the colors of the flowers in English. For the next week, she would come up to me and point to different children’s shirts, waiting for me to tell her more colors. Anytime I told her a color she would repeat the word and look at me expectantly, waiting for confirmation that she was right. She constantly wanted to get her hands on any little tidbit of information she could get. When I went to her classroom a few weeks later, I discovered that their class had not even learned the colors in Swahili, her native language. Happiness simply had a desire to know and to learn.
Happiness’ thirst for knowledge reminded me about why I want to be a teacher. I want to awaken that desire to learn within my students. Can you remember a time when you were genuinely excited to learn? Too often students go to school simply out of obligation. They are turned off by the idea of learning new material. As teachers, we must generate excitement for learning and knowledge. When I was young, I was always wanted to learn more. In my free time, I would teach my dolls the lessons I had learned at school that day.
Children are always curious about the world around them, but where does that curiosity go? Do we go to class as a requirement to graduate? Or because we want to know? Happiness reminded me of the desire for knowledge that we should all have. We should stop complaining about how much work we have or about all of the class requirements in order to graduate, and simply be excited that we have the opportunity to learn.