There was so much learning done this week. From third graders to young adults and even a couple of parents and a wide array of topics too; from native habitats, to micro-invertebrates, to interpretation and communication. This week was filled with a lot of insightful questions, “creep walking” while being quiet observers, and appreciating the little things of life. After two weeks of shadowing and observing, this week I was able to lead a couple of educational activities, and had forgotten how funny, curious, and insightful young children can be. Arely and I were leading the native habitat field station and were able to have conversations about the importance of native habitats and ability for different species such as rabbits, lizards, and insects to camouflage. The questions that arose and the joy of seeing them enjoy the outdoors brought a lot of warmth to me for very few people see the outdoors as a frame of learning, but I consider it very first-hand learning. What better way to learn about a lizard territorial behavior than by witnessing it’s head-bob movement and push-up behavior and chasing another lizard away from it’s bark, or the Allen’s hummingbird courting display by witnessing it’s J-shape flight high into the air and dive followed by a high-pitch whine. I don’t think it can get any better than that, but maybe, I am biased.
I have been an educator for about six years now in a wide array of subjects and with multiple diverse audiences. As an educator, with everyone, whether one is six or forty, my purpose is for them to walk away understanding not only what I was trying to teach, but spark an interest and curiosity. Anyone can recite and spill facts, the same way that any student can also memorize within a lecture if they study enough and repeat it enough, but to aid someone else in the process of learning and discovery is difficult to do, the same way it is to put theory into practice; that is a whole difference process and experience. Within an education setting and educator, I keep in mind that I have to be selfless and that this space is not about me, but them. Within that space, I have to adapt to the audience, speak the language of the audience, and form a relationship between them and what I am trying to convey. The role of an educator is to teach, to transgress outside of the borders of factual information, but critical thinking forming relationships with the surroundings and people. Whether I teach biology or social justice, I keep in mind that education should always be a practice of freedom.
“I celebrate teaching that enables transgression- a movement against and beyond boundaries. It is that movement which makes education the practice of freedom.”- bell hooks