Who turned the light off?

cc licensed by Kelly McCarthyWhere is the turn in a child’s education that causes the light to dim? Is it developmental? A response to irrelevant teaching? Or something altogether cultural? 

It happened in my life. I was always a curious child, asking why to no end, reading encyclopedias at home for fun, writing ideas for books, and devouring logic problems and puzzles. Yet, something happened along the way that created a disconnect between learning and school.

Grades never motivated me much, but they did define me. I never believed that I was smart. Smart meant good grades and mine were average at best until the second semester of my Junior year. I am not sure if it was due to new friendships, ending a toxic relationship, or just growing up a little… Honestly, it was so long ago I can’t remember what made the difference, but that year I went from barely a 2.0 GPA  to well over a 3.5 in one semester. The counselor that year made a comment to the effect of “now we know what you can do.” I will never forget that. It was the first time I thought maybe I was more than what I had come to believe I was.

When I decided to become a teacher, it was the desire to share my passion for learning that influenced me. I wanted to show kids that learning could still be fun and that making a grade isn’t really what it’s all about. It has been a difficult road navigating between that passion and the institution that is our educational system. I have often wondered if it is worth it, if I am completely unrealistic, or even if I have it all wrong.


But, when I see the glint of possibility in a child’s face… of passion… of knowing who they are and who they could be…. I know.