Tonight I will get to walk across a stage in Hilton Coliseum for the second time as I complete my Masters program. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree back in 2004 from Iowa State University and am getting my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instructional Technology tonight from the same school. I am a Cyclone for life!
When I graduated in 2004, it felt like a bigger deal than tonight does just for the fact that there was a lot of change happening because of what that degree allowed to happen as I was about to start my first teaching job. (as well as getting married to my wife not long after) Not much will change with this degree as I am already in a position that my degree was helping me to get but also because I do not view myself as being done with anything. I am very much focused on the fact that we need to be always learning and growing in order to be improving. We can’t just think we are done and will be set for a long time when everything around us is constantly changing. We need to be learning, we need to be growing, and we need to be modeling this to our students. We need to help them understand why we want to learn and grow as well as how this will help us. I refuse to have a fixed mindset as I am always reflecting on the work that I am doing and how I can improve. I value feedback and the help of others to keep me growing and moving forward. This degree I get tonight, while the outcome of a lot of work and time, is not the end as I will continue to learn and probably will pursue another degree down the road as part of my learning. (although it is my wife’s turn to get the next degree as we are taking turns, it is only fair)
My challenge to others is to make sure they are always modeling to students what it means to be a life-long learner and to model the positive attitude we should have as we embrace challenges and learning opportunities. We can’t blame students for having bad attitudes about learning something new if we model that attitude. We need to model that which we want our students to show, we can’t expect it if we do not model it or teach it.