Continuing Education

For those of you who do not know, I have just returned from a week-long conference in Austin. It was a series of lecture modules for teachers on various subjects, hosted by a relatively young but incredibly successful (so far) private school. Some of you may be thinking, “A week of meetings, away from your home? How terrible! I hope you at least got paid a big stipend!” Other than a small daily allowance to cover basic expenses, I did not get extra pay. I still got the better end of the deal, though: my fellow teachers and I were put up at the home of another teacher’s parents. Class was over at noon. The bedroom which I shared with one other person was as big as my house. We could sit on the spacious upstairs porch and admire a fabulous view of the lake and of the roofs of the other mansions in the neighborhood. One night we got to go on a boat ride on the lake. Another night we ate homemade manicotti on the porch while watching the sunset. Every night we would hike down to the neighborhood pool (unlike any pool I’ve ever seen) and float around in the cool water until it was time for bed. The only down side is that every afternoon we had to make sure we weren’t getting in the way of the young girl who came over to clean up after us.

So anyway. A couple of the sessions that I attended were duds, which was kind of disappointing. I attended a poorly-organized three-day lecture on worldview and a very impractical session on classroom management. One on philosophy and one on cultural leadership were good. What all of these classes did impress on me, though, is how little I know about the topics which are interesting to me. Just last week I blogged about my goal to be an expert in something. This seminar put some fire under me to get cracking on that goal.

I need to go back to college! I have a very hard time reading non-fiction and I really am pining away for the days when I was held accountable for difficult reading, had an expert to explain that reading to me, and a classroom of peers to discuss the topic with. Other than graduate school, how do post-college adults continue to expand their horizons?

3 responses to “Continuing Education

  1. In general, without classes/professors/grades etc. for accountability, one doesn’t pursue difficult reading after college. Which is why your brain turns to mush around 30 because by that you’re only thinking about when can I get a shower while the kids are napping…

    By the time you’re 40, you don’t care that you’re not an expert at anything, at 50 you hope your kids are experts at something, at 60 you think your grandkids are amazingly intelligent, and at 70 you think the whole world could use your wisdom … because you’re an expert…. at LIFE!

    Seriously, I admire your drive to be an expert. I once taught with an English teacher who knew her British lit backwards and forwards and had taught in the same room for 25 years! WOW, was I envious of that much professional acumen. I was envious because I had spent my first five years of teaching (before I met her) teaching in 4 different schools under 5 different principals and probably half a dozen different subjects. I felt like I was ALWAYS just one chapter ahead of the students.

    So be an expert, and may God grant you the persistence to achieve it and the classes with which to share it.

  2. Home is nice. Can’t wait to have one to call my own 🙂 hehe. Also I can’t wait to come see yours! Your week sounds like what our trips down to visit Cliff’s dad’s house in Austin are like. So nice! I bet Stephen is glad to have you back.

  3. I don’t know how we can continue our education. Well, there’s continuing ed at the community college. There’s training and seminars you can attend, but they usually cost money, and it’s preferable to have your company/school back you on that. You could join/start a book club… or a book blog, where everyone could comment on higher reading. But then you’d just have get people to read the same thing, and it would probably feel very much like school (oh, do I have to read this?) and then no one would do it. It’s a quandary for sure!

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