By Anne Erwin, BHS Principal
LEARNING TRANSFORMS US.
One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. I vividly remember sitting with that book with the yellow cover and colorful pages. I held it on my lap, scanned the pages. Now the letters formed words and I was the one reading them, not my mother, not my father but ME. It was as if the power to read came alive in one instant. Becoming a reader transformed me into a learner.
Flash forward to my third grade classroom. My teacher was trying to pull independent thought out of our parrot-like brains. She would ask a question and we would offer up the answer we all thought she wanted us to regurgitate. “Think” she encouraged. Same question, same answer. She took off her glasses she and pounded on the desk “Think!” Same question, same answer. She jumped onto the desk “Think, for the love of God, think for yourself” she implored. Her demands that day and every day transformed me into a thinker.
Race ahead to a freshman world history course at the University of Oregon. Sitting in the back of the room I looked around at the assembled colleagues. I glanced out the window onto the expanse of lawn and college looking buildings. All at once a wave of realization washed over me. “I’m in college!” My fate as a learner was sealed.
For over twenty years I stood before my own students and watched as they discussed and debated the topics of the day, wrestled over essays, and negotiated readings. Every day, I learned as much from them as I tried to teach. And now as a principal every day, every action, every dream is about learning.