We all have our own story. When I look back on my own and what has spurred me on both personally and professionally, it's been to take on the mindset that no matter what I experience there is always some amazing learning to be had...for myself, my friends and family, my students, and the teachers I surround myself with daily. This is good stuff, people. Especially when the tough stuff happens.
In my personal life it's that tough stuff that comes to mind that has taught me the most (although I was unable to see this at the time.) Losing a sister in a tragic car accident when I was only 9, watching my father live through the throes of Alzheimers, and dealing with epilepsy rearing it's ugly head in the last five years and having two particular hard episodes, one that sent me to the ground right in the school parking lot, and the other that stopped my heart for 9 seconds (sounds like a short period of time, but the EKG read out was quite sobering to look at and after hearing the story from my husband, I'm glad I don't remember a darn thing.) Through these things I've learned to not take the presence of friends and family for granted, that there is a tenderness that comes from feeding and diapering your own parent that grows tenderness and humility in your soul, and that even though you are a control freak, when you have epilepsy you learn that you can't control everything, and you'd better learn to be flexible when you're not able to drive for 6 months at a time! (Holy cow--good thing I think my husband is, like, the most handsome chauffeur EVER.
In my professional life--when it comes to kids, I've learned that the language we use with them is just as important as what we teach them. By having a learning reaction to their inquiry instead of rescuing them creates people that are self-thinkers, problem solvers, and empowers them to take on the tough stuff that life will throw at them. (See above paragraph for examples ;~)
When it comes to working with teachers in the area of technology integration, the spectrum is wide. For some teachers it is a second nature to learn a new learning management system, take on a new software program, or understand the new standards-based report card, while others need to develop a learning reaction to their frustrations in their learning. While this is a more difficult part of my job, I love the challenge.
So--that's my story...how taking on a learning reaction in my life continues to make it immeasurably better. We always have that choice when it comes to something new or when something upsets our cart of comfortableness. I choose the mindset of a learning reaction---and it's been a good, good thing.
Click here for a great article on having a learning reaction with our students.