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edu180atl: maureen elliot 9.14.12

As classes are in full swing students and teachers alike are well on their journey through the next academic year.  I find myself reflecting on what drives each of us through this voyage of academia.  What motivates our students?  What inspires us as teachers and how do we translate that energy to inspire the charges before us?  I imagine that each of us has a different answer to that question, but for me, my answer lies, interestingly enough, on the plains of Africa.

My thoughts carry me back to one of the most incredible journeys of nature on our planet, one that I was blessed to experience first hand this summer.  Each July through September, over 1 million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of herbivores make the arduous journey across the Serengeti and into the Masai Mara.  The driving force is the instinct to survive – to leave the dried up grasses of Tanzania to locate the fresh growth of Kenya.   But success is more than just the 250km journey; one must avoid the constellation of predators and cross the perilous Mara River to reach the fruits of their labor.    Their only guide, beside a handful of zebras with excellent memories, is the smell of fresh rain whose odor represents one thing only – life.

So what correlates this dramatic scene of wildebeests to my daily work in the classroom?    The marvelous wonder of life and sharing that wonder with my students.   And so if I may ask, what is your wonder?

About the author: Maureen Elliott is an enthusiastic science teacher at the Westminster Schools.  She is passionate about her students and inspired by the elegant simplicity of nature. 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Maureen, I love prompt for us to reflect on our wonder and motivation. I do think students walk into our rooms with energy and passion. Your questions about how we capture that energy and nurture it are right on. Thanks for the great post! Your time in Africa just sounds so amazing.

    September 15, 2012

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