The common placed wisdom of today that prevails, is to find a niche and stick with it. If you tend to dabble in other interests and desire to learn other topics one is labeled as unfocused, unable to follow through, or at worst shallow.
As a teacher whose obligation is to learn, I feel this is off the mark. A brief study of history will reveal how misplaced this supposed wisdom truly is. Thomas Jefferson was innately curious, he spoke seven languages, he was a lawyer, a paleontologist, an agronomist, a botanist, a musician, a mathematician, and a gifted architect. This is not even the full-list. A little mind-numbing and in today’s age we would have probably thought something was seriously wrong.
Yet, we see this common thread among many of his contemporaries, John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Rush, and Benjamin Franklin. Society was different back then too, learning and having an education was valued as one’s “pursuit of happiness”. That phrase has been taken and construed to mean chasing “The American Dream”…at one point learning and independent thought was the core of the American idea that established our country.
As we look at our education system today, we have constructed false academic silos separating topics from each other. This makes the drawing of connections between topics difficult and prevents synergistic learning that could be yielded from the mixing of various content areas.
Our obligation to our students and ourselves must be to tear down these false barriers and bring in various topics that will deliver relevance and connection for our students. We must continue to push ourselves to seek knowledge from a wide breadth of content areas as they will only benefit our learning and in turn our teaching.
What topics are you learning and what connections can you draw from them for future application?
Agimus tibi Dominus