Recently I’ve been thinking about my life, and how I came to be an educator. A central theme of my life is LEARNING. I can see chapters of that journey coming to life as I think about my journey here in “Earth School.” I realize that I would enjoy sharing some of those experiences with you, and maybe you will enjoy learning a bit about me; I know I would enjoy getting to know you and learning about your journey!
I began my journey as a “teacher” when I organized the neighborhood children for the purpose of “playing school” and “putting on plays for our parents.” I progressed to getting a degree in Elementary Education, then teaching Kindergarten and Third Grade in Illinois and Kansas. As a beginning teacher in Downers Grove, Illinois and in Lawrence, Kansas, I always sought out ways to create an environment in which children loved learning, and I loved it.
I moved on to getting a Master’s degree in Gifted Education, and serving as a Gifted Education Facilitator at the Elementary and Middle School level. I loved that experience too! As a facilitator of Learning in both public and private schools, as well as tutoring privately, I found joy in being an educator, especially as I re-discovered the etymology of the word EDUCATION.
As a Life Long Learner, I proceeded to move into a PhD program at Union Institute and University. Not being about to choose only one area of focus, I chose to blend the disciplines of Ecopsychology with Expressive Arts, and created my own version of study called TRANSFORMATIONAL EDUCATION.
I decided that maybe helping to transform the educational system in this country might be a way for me to continue sharing and facilitating creative, new, sometimes old, ways of engaging learners to truly engage and open up their own creativity and uniqueness. So, for a number of years I served as the director of a program at Kansas State University which allowed me to work with student teachers in their first real experience in the real world of teaching. I was saddened that the “system” often put a damper on their creativity, and encouraged these young teachers, the ones who would be the educators of the next generation, instead to stay within the bounds of the old system. Challenged though I was, I loved this experience of teaching and learning too!. I loved it… and I yearned for helping people to be “FREE TO BE themselves.”
Though I am no longer teaching in a public or private school, I am the same curious, corageous, compassionate, person who wants to co-create LEARNING EXPERIENCES for everyone. I have not really changed that since I was a child. I love Learning and I love serving as a facilitator of Learning. In fact, in my PhD Program I chose to do a PDE (Project Demonstrating Excellence) instead of a dissertation. I created and executed the establishment of a community gathering place in the form of a bakery, coffee shop, juice bar and cafe, and learning center. One arm of this creation was Tallgrass Bakery Cafe and Juice Bar, located on 17th. Street in Topeka, KS. We encouraged people to grow their roots as people of the Prairie; so one way to do that was to serve 12 kinds of Root Beer to help them remember their roots. The other arm of this adventure was the creation of a physical building in which to house my business called “Learning for Life.” We opened the doors of The Learning for Life Center at the same time we opened the restaurant in September of 1998, over 20 YEARS AGO!
I learned that I was not really cut out to run a restaurant, so other people do that now and do it well. However I am still here today, at the Learning for Life Center, and I am ready to engage with anyone, any time…that is anyone who wants to GROW AND LEARN.