Monday, September 3, 2012

Vision Board II in Text Part II: A Golden Apple

As I continue to think about what my second vision board would contain, I turn to the idea of the golden apple--and how it symbolizes teaching.  It represents the center of my of my professional life.  It represents the highest goal that I have for the remainder of my professional life--to be the best educator that I can be.  Educator, for me, means a combination of teaching and showing students how to do research and teaching them about being professionals.  I'm not always sure I do the last of these very well, but it is something that I strive for.  All three of the things I listed are "teaching" but not all teaching in the classroom.  Teaching can be so much more.

I am fortunate enough to have been awarded two Golden Apple awards at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  They involved teaching online.  That is somewhat like teaching in the classroom, but not identical by any means.  There may or may not be more awards in my career.  Whether there are or not does not affect my desire to teach.  My passion about teaching.  Regardless of whether I ever get more awards, the two awards I have received symbolize my emphasis on teaching.  It has been a big part of my life in the time since I began graduate school and it will continue to be a big part of my life as long as I continue to be a faculty member somewhere.

As I envision how this would fit with the first element of my second vision board (bread) I see different types of bread around a golden apple.  The bread is the sustenance.  The golden apple is central to my existence.

Why is teaching so central to my existence.  Because while I have emphasized teaching within a graduate school setting so far, that is not the only opportunity I have for teaching.  Obviously teaching can be of my own kids too.  Teaching can be within the Sunday school setting (and although having St. Sebastian in my first vision board shows that I value spreading the word of God, the element of teaching about the word of God now becomes front and center).  Teaching can be within the community.  Teaching can occur any time, any place where I am with someone.

I also like to think of teaching by example.  Teaching by my behavior.  Teaching by my choices.  Teaching by what I do as much as by what I say.  Teaching by showing how to use what I teach and not just teaching things for the sake of the information itself.

Finally, I not only hope to continue to use my teaching skills but I hope to continue to improve my teaching skills.  Just because I am good at something does not mean that I should not continue to make an investment to be even better.  It is intellectually stimulating.  And it is what my students deserve.  

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