Planning to learn

When walking to youth group with my neighbors yesterday afternoon, Brea, at 13 years old, out of nowhere asked, “So Mrs. Julia, what did you learn today?” Her brother, 14, answered, “Mrs. Julia didn’t learn anything; she’s a teacher.  She teaches other people.”  Brea responded, “Teachers can learn things too!”  And there I was, on the spot.

I thought for just one moment before it came to me- I learned how to crochet with Rebekah Daniels in the Sixth Grade Explorations Class today!  (More on that in her post tomorrow).  “Yes, I did learn something!” I shared proudly.  Being the sweet kids that they are, my neighbors inquired into what I was making and applauded my efforts.

Our conversation continued, and it was not until my post-it reminder popped up that I realized how ironic Brea’s question was.  Yesterday, the day when I should be extra attentive to my learning in preparation for this post, it took the friendly yet curious mind of a student to bring my attention to my own continued learning.

So, where was my mind if it was not on learning?  Where do our adult minds wander or, more candidly, what do we get bombarded with that detracts from the simple joy of learning?

In my case, I was in list-making mode: planning dinner, planning class lessons, planning visits with friends, planning to plan (I wish this was a joke, but the third item on my list yesterday evening read: “make a plan”- yikes!)  My dad always says, “We plan, God laughs.”  He is surely quoting somebody, but I do wonder how much planning is necessary and helpful, and at what point we pass the “over-planned” mark.  Over planning is a common topic for bloggers, and there are plenty of opinions on how to liberate ourselves from this tendency.

I guess what I learned today is that I am a good planner.  And I enjoy planning.  I could plan all day long and feel completely content and even accomplished in my work.  Now to be my own Devil’s advocate, what am I forgetting on my “to do” list?  What do I intentionally leave out of my plan?  Does reflection often make the list?  How about journaling? Learning?

I hope to prioritize personal learning and reflection in the way I expect all my Fifth and Sixth Grade students to.  Just this week I asked students to explain their language learning SWAG (at Trinity, SWAG stands for Strength, Wisdom, And Growth).  Am I willing to commit time to reflect on my own strength, wisdom, and growth as a learner?

I just added that to my list.


Learner, Thinker, Writer: Julia Kuipers teaches Fifth and Sixth Grade World Languages @JKuipers_3

3 thoughts on “Planning to learn

  1. Julia, I love this post! From the question about what you learned from a teenager to your planning to plan, it made me laugh. I, too, enjoy planning and to do lists. Taking time to recognize the learning along the way is the point of this blog.

  2. Julia, you are so right– I ask my kids to reflect all the time, but I don’t do it as often as I should. I have a lot on my many to do lists, but I don’t often plan to reflect or write or schedule in time for myself. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

  3. I feel a lot of pressure to PLAN a well-written comment!

    From one planner to another, I hear you! I plan so much so frequently that if something doesn’t make my list, it likely doesn’t happen. An unexpected danger of planning…

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