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This we believe

For the final discussion session in one of my courses, the 15 students in the section had the option of sharing our This I Believe statements with the rest of the group.  Since class would have ended immediately if no one decided to share, at first we didn’t have any volunteers.  But then one person said she wanted to share her statement – and it was great.  She spoke movingly about rediscovering her passion for teaching and demonstrated more depth in the two pages of text than I’ve seen from her in two years of classes.  After that, volunteers came steadily.  Not every statement was beautifully written or perfectly articulated, but they all showed a lot of heart and thought.  I so often hear only about what my classmates don’t like and don’t want to do; hearing them present impassioned defenses of their core educational beliefs showed me another, much more impressive side of them.  I enjoyed, too, the camaraderie that developed as we shared.  Murmurs of “that was great,” or “wow,” followed many of the speakers, and people offered reassurance and encouragement to two girls who were hesitant to share.  We’ve spent most of our Masters program in classes with 50 or more students; on this final day of our final required class, we finally created some of the community we’ve been lacking.  Afterwards, our TA told us to remember this class session and the passion, idealism, and commitment we expressed.  After some days in the classroom, he said, we’ll lose our sense of direction or forget why we wanted to become teachers.  During those days, we need to pull out our This I Believe essays and think back to the ideas we shared this evening.  We know what our vision for education is, and shared experiences like that tonight help us recommit to it.

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