Do you love to learn? Reflections from middle school students
Every educator has their own reasons why they chose to do what they do. For me, it’s simple. I chose teaching because I wanted to be able to impact change. I wanted to help students get on the right path for college, and I wanted to be able to work with children in the most positive way I could imagine.
However, when I chose to be a teacher, I never expected how much I would grow to love the little things that make teaching special, such as seeing students get excited about things they are learning, or answering questions a student has just because they want to learn more. Everyday, they remind me of my love of learning, and the reasons why it is so important.
Meet some of my 6th grade students, and find out why they love to learn.
Maira is one of my hardest working students. She said “I have improved my grades since elementary school, especially in science and language arts.” Maira loves to learn because she wants to be able to go to college and start her own career one day. “I might want to be a teacher because I admire my teachers. They are really nice and do what is best for you. They are the people who help you have a better life.” Math is her favorite subject, because “I have always been good at it, even in elementary school. In math my best project was a calendar project where I learned to make equations for numbers. For example, on the 4th I would write 2(1+1)=4.” In reading class, her favorite activity is the Socratic Seminar. “It helps me learn by having a discussion where everyone shares their ideas.”
Edgar is not only smart, but he is kind and helpful to all those around him. “I help my older siblings with their math homework after school.” When asked about how learning has changed him, he said “I can now solve 7-9th grade problems and read books that challenge me.” He loves to learn because “I want to have opportunities in the future that my family was never able to have. The person who has inspired me to learn is my mom because she said that when she was small her father left her and her mom.” Edgar is inspired by his Mother’s courage and hard work, and loves to learn because “I want to be someone helpful in the future and not someone that slacks off during school.”
Ayrion is a bright student who loves to challenge his thinking and the thinking of those around him. He excels in all of his classes, especially during debate and discussion. “I like to learn because it introduces me to new opportunities and lets me experience something new that I have never done before. The thing that has made me most successful is books, because I can read them anytime. When I need help, I can re-read them until I understand.” After middle school and high school, “I plan to continue my learning by going to college. My biggest academic goal is to graduate from college.” He too is inspired to learn by his mother, who always pushes him towards academic success. “My mom has inspired me to learn because she wants the best for me and I don’t want to disappoint her.”
Freyja is a student who always wants to know more. “I am inspired by my father, because he encourages my love of learning. Freyja likes to learn because she “Wonders about things. I wonder, how did this happen, or why did this happen. When I learn, I get answers. When I learn, I don’t just learn science, math, english, and social studies, I learn things that will help me later in life. Because I learn, I will have a better future.” School has changed her in more ways than one. “Before I started going to school, I thought I would hate it. I had seen all the television shows about how school was ¨awful¨ and/or ¨Boring¨. So, I did not want to go, but as I got older, I discovered how much I like to read, and write, and learn.” “In the future I could use math and literature to get a job. I could be a doctor, or I could get a job in computer science. And, I could get into a really good college. If I work really hard, and study every day, I could probably get into Harvard! My biggest academic goal, is to get into a good college and graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree.”
Demiria is a strong student, and leader at our school, who wants to be a neurosurgeon one day. She is an active member of student government. “I plan to stay in school, so that I can go to undergraduate, and then go to an ivy league school for medical school. My biggest academic goal is to graduate medical school” Learning has changed her because “now I realize that everything you do involves reading and math. I have learned the most in reading, because I have learned to figure things out without having the answer right in front of me. The best project in class that we did was a creative choice board project for ‘The Outsiders’ because ‘the Outsiders’ showed me many themes that are important in everyday life.” In her free time, she writes chapters for a book that one day she hopes to publish.
About the Author
Sari Goldstein is a graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in political science and a minor in psychology. She spent most of her 3.5 years in state college, PA, but also spent one semester studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. After graduating from college she began working for Teach for America in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. She teaches middle school language arts, and is hoping to continue making a difference in the lives of students nationwide. Her passion is creating educational equity and higher literacy rates within Title I schools.