24 June 2012

What a Liberal Arts Education Did For Me

 With all the talk about College and Career Readiness in our nation, I have been thinking  intentionally about my own college experience at a small liberal arts college in northeast Georgia.   My liberal arts education was not intended to train me for a specific job, nor did I even dream I would become a teacher until after I graduated.   A liberal arts education prepared me for life beyond the world of work because it taught me the benefits of lifelong learning and much more.

My values of tolerance, sympathy, and respect for others were enhanced in courses, internships and service learning projects where we studied cultures, people, humanity, literature, sciences, music, art, and philosophy.  At Piedmont College I learned to think critically and analytically, to communicate effectively, to solve problems, to collaborate, and to create--all integrated (not isolated) skills which are never obsolete; these skills allow me to thrive in an evolving global society.  These skills and the desire to continue learning enabled me to become a teacher who--

  • Established rapport with students
  • Engaged students in authentic learning opportunities
  • Employed effective instructional strategies
  • Empathized with students, parents, and colleagues
 Since I'm not currently in the classroom, these same skills--Critical thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, Problem Solving, Communication and a desire for lifelong learning allow me to provide leadership and oversight of projects in education.

Sometimes I question myself and my choice for leaving the classroom, as I've blogged about previously, but colleagues and former students remind me of the possibility for impacting change in public education.  And, thanks to numerous esteemed colleagues, I am reminded that we need more lifelong learners making decisions.