Not Too Old to Learn New Tricks!

By Rhonda
Student, South Mountain Community College

Wow! And they say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks!! I am here to tell you today that it is absolutely not true!!!

As a retired teacher I have spent thousands of hours in the classroom as both a teacher and student. I remember entering my first classroom as a new teacher and finding an empty filing cabinet and two teacher editions placed squarely on the scarred desk in front of thirty empty desks. Three days later, thirty high school seniors filled the seats and expected me to educate them! That was 1980, and all I had was the textbook and whatever resources I had in my box of college textbooks, handouts, and projects. That was one tough year, but by the end, I overcame the obstacles and did the job!

Fast forward seventeen years, and I re-entered the classroom after staying home to raise my own kids. Some things had changed; others had not. I still found the classroom with the filing cabinet, the teacher editions, and the thirty empty chairs, which, on the first Monday, were filled with thirty bright-eyed, shiny seventh graders expecting an education. What had changed was my access to resources. With the internet, I had a plethora of lesson plan ideas, strategies, and information at my fingertips. However, I was missing the computer skills needed to access them. That also was one tough year, but by the end, I overcame the obstacles and did the job!

Another time jump of twenty years, and I find myself back in the classroom as a student. As I look around my classes at the students who could be my grandchildren, I am amazed at their fearlessness and determination. Many are juggling school, jobs, and family on an hour-by-hour basis. However, they continue to come to class on time, participate in thoughtful discussions, and complete their homework. Every year is a tough year, but they are overcoming the obstacles and getting the job done!

Currently we are all facing great obstacles. Our lives have been turned upside down. Each day brings a “new normal” of social distancing, quarantine, illness and, for many, fear. For myself, accessing my teachers, classmates, and lessons online is scary because I have to depend on technology to make these connections. In the last week I have had to learned many new “tricks” like Zoom, Webex, Google Hangouts, etc. Yes, I have missed a few online meetings and will probably turn in a couple of late projects. But that’s okay because I know how to overcome obstacles and get the job done, and no one is ever too old to learn a few new tricks!

Written: Spring 2020


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