Learning for learning’s sake

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“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” ― John Lubbock, The Pleasures of Life

Tonight I’ve been thinking about the notion of learning for learning sake. On spending time with friends this evening I looked back at the last few months of my development and realised that I have learnt for learning’s sake rather than to acquire an accolade or qualification.

I have always considered myself the underdog. The youngest of five and the one who had siblings to compare myself against. For many years I chased not to be the ‘beautiful mistake’ and it was quite clear than my artistic side was just mine. It wasn’t shared by my siblings but a gift just for me.

This gift was ignited and encouraged by my wonderful Aunty who delighted in the creativity of children. Was this where I got my passion for teaching?

I always wanted to be as good as my siblings…. It was only February this year that I realised that I only undertook any form of learning to be the best at whatever it was I was doing. I craved the status that qualifications gave me and the letters after my name were often used as a weapon against my doubters.

I realised in February, that I am enough and that just recently, after completing another qualification in teaching, that I had done enough to be all that I have ever really wanted to be. I love teaching and I love art. I love making a difference to people’s lives through helping them to develop skills and belief in themselves through art.

Someone asked me tonight what my blog was about, I answered that it was about escaping the rat race into creativity. So what has this got to do with the subject?

The rat race, as I call it, focused on the results, attainment and retention of students and as a tutor I focused on the difference in the students from the start of the course to the end. I looked at how they had learnt to handle themselves better and communicate in a manner that was acceptable. I focused on the shaping of the beautiful diamonds that left my classroom regardless of their grades or percentage of attendance.

I was constantly told ‘take emotion out of it’ but how can you when all your life’s goals have been to make a difference? The two different viewpoints did not mix and I needed to escape.

I have seen miracles in my classes and I will forever have their names imprinted on my heart. I do not take the credit. I just work with the gift I have been given. Art has been the teacher in my classes. The patience learnt when studying a still life, the emotions learnt through expressive typography, the teamwork and communication whilst building a 3D tower, the self discipline learnt when working in teams and the silence learnt when listening to others.

These are the gifts I can pass on to others, These are the skills that were past on to me. Today I learn for learning’s sake. I no longer feel the need to compare myself to my siblings or prove my worth. I have a gift that is only mine and I’m happy that that gift is the gift of creativity.

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