I was one of those crazy people who always loved school. In fact, for about as long as I can remember, there were two things that were more important to me than anything else in my small Ohio town: school and sports. As I have grown and added experiences to my life story, however, I’ve learned that those activities—the hard work, the triumphs, and the failures that I’d grown to love–are nothing without the personal relationships that come from them. I loved high school, and I always knew I wanted to teach. Beyond the classroom, though, I wanted a venue to develop relationships with students and staff. The seeds of my fond high school memories were not planted while sitting at desks.
Through college and beyond, I’ve continued to explore this concept of learning outside of the classroom. During my time studying English, Education, and Spanish at Principia College, some of the lessons I most clearly remember were learned on the basketball court, through my community service activities, or during my study-abroad. These realizations opened me up to the school that existed beyond school. I recognized that, no matter how high my test scores, I had a lot to learn outside of the traditional classroom. I also knew that some of the happiest people I’d ever met were not the most educated, the wealthiest, or the best-employed. They were the ones who were in touch with nature and with each other. I became fascinated with this idea because, let’s face it, the world needs happy people.
Since graduating from Principia, I’ve been exploring this idea of happiness and how it intersects with education. Education goes far beyond the academic, and I wanted to educate myself on the joys found in and outside of the classroom. This exploration led me from Leelanau Outdoor Center in beautiful Northern Michigan to a TEFL classroom in Argentina, to a 5th grade classroom in rural Honduras, to an inner-city charter high school in Boston. Each place opened my eyes to different aspects of the education world, and I enjoy how Link is continuing to round out my understanding. I love learning alongside the students about rafting, climbing, biking, and horses, while sharing some fun reading, writing, thinking, and conversation.