Long before I took my first education class and heard the formal term, I knew down deep that I was a “lifelong learner.” And I’m not just talking about book learning…I’m the type of person who is able to take away something new from almost any situation, be it a piece of “useless” trivia or a major life lesson. Not only do I enjoy discovering and storing away new information like a squirrel stockpiling acorns for winter, but I can muddle through most topics of conversation at social functions, and who knows when one of those little nuggets of knowledge might enable me to save the day? Maybe I’ll be the star player who knows the answer to that obscure trivia question and boosts my team to a win at the local pub’s quiz night or the only chick in the car who knows how to assemble the jack when our girls’ night out is interrupted by a flat tire.
This week, I’ve enrolled myself in three somewhat more structured opportunities for learning to take place next month. First of all, I signed up for an online linguistics course through University of Phoenix so I can complete the continuing education requirements needed to renew my teaching license. Although I’m hoping not to have to return to an elementary classroom when we get back to the States, I’d rather have a current license and not need it than need it and not have it.
Secondly, I signed up for a one-day ESL course through Oxford University’s continuing education department. I am hoping to transition from elementary education to adult education when I begin full-time teaching again, and I’ve so enjoyed the informal English classes I’ve taught overseas the past five years that I think adult ESL may be my niche. The Oxford class focuses on speaking activities to improve English learners’ fluency, which is an area where my lesson plans could use some improvement. The course has the added benefit of giving me a legitimate reason to purchase an Oxford sweatshirt (I’d somehow feel a fraud wearing one without actually having taken a class there, although I know people do it all the time).
Last, but not least, I secured a spot in a weekend spoon carving class. A local woodworker had posted his flyer in our village pub last year, and as soon as I laid eyes on it I knew spoon carving was something I wanted to try. I’ve never carved anything other than a popsicle stick, so I’m not sure how or why I’m so convinced this is a hobby for me, but I knew regret would haunt me if I left England without taking the course. Even if I suck at carving and can’t fill my family’s Christmas stockings with beautiful (or even “rustic,” which is the PC term for screwed-up) hand-carved spoons this year, I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I didn’t let an opportunity to learn something new pass me by.
Stay tuned next month to find out how each of these new learning opportunities pans out!