In his blog post, What is Your Educational DNA? Chris Lehman writes:
It’s a phrase I use a lot when I talk about SLA, “It’s in my DNA.” The ideas that form the backbone of SLA are the ideas that hold most dear about what I believe school can be. Much of the work I have done over the years has been developing a language for what I believed, refining the beliefs and figuring out how to make those beliefs easy to put into practice for teacher and students.
I attended five elementary schools (Rosecrest, Mae Ellis, Fallbrook, La Paloma, and Live Oak), one grade in a junior high (James E. Potter), and the different high schools (one giant school, Fallbrook; one low SES school San Juan; and one affluent school, Joel E. Ferris). I had very different experiences in these different schools and that taught me a lot.
One of the most frustrating parts for me was "learning" things that I had learned at my previous school. It really bothered me to see that I had to re-read our relearn things that I already knew how to do. My previous learning experiences were not valued and recognized. It made it very easy for me to feel like school didn't matter much.
I was very comfortable being the class clown, as well, which meant that I was often in trouble. Many times the teachers just wanted me out of their class. There was one teacher, Mr. Hughes, who understood the attention I was seeking, and gave me the attention in a positive way.
Guess which class I never goofed off in? His.
One teacher decided that because I had a behavior problem, I must not be "smart". She made it her personal mission to get me kicked out of all advanced and honors classes. So, I had to go to the "dumb kids" classes. Because that happened in 10th grade, I was never able to take any more Honors classes or AP classes. My high school classes very easy, but also very boring. I didn't have to try hard, and never had homework, because the expectations were so low.
Those experiences encouraged me to go into education. My strong desire to serve others solidified that choice for me. My job is to serve my teachers and students, to make them the best they can be.