"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me, and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin.
This quote is powerful to me because it describes my experience as a student throughout my life - whether I was in elementary, secondary, undergraduate, or now, in graduate studies. I could listen and learn certain things, but if I listened "harder" or tried to focus "closer" to learn what the teacher was telling me - I usually would not retain it. This type of learning was dreadfully difficult because I would have to review notes, draw pictures, and memorize flashcards after class in order for the information to stick. Later I realized, practice was what 'made permanent', rather than memorization. When I found out I had gotten into the Masters of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, I was ecstatic - not only because it meant I got to pursue my dream of completing my Masters - but it also meant that I would get to attempt a Masters degree with applied courses, practical learning, and hands-on exams. Throughout the years I had learned that learning by trying, or getting “hands-on” learning, I could retain so much more than through other techniques.
Now, with 4 months left to go in my Masters, I have the opportunity to teach the Exercise Physiology lab for the first time at the University of Calgary, as well as the first lab of its kind to be offered at Mount Royal University, also in Calgary. This opportunity means that I get to teach students about exercise physiology techniques that are often client-centered and hands-on, and use the practical techniques that have helped me retain information best in the past.
As I prep for the first week of classes, I can’t help but be terrified. I was so lucky to have some of the best teachers in my undergraduate labs, some of which I am still in contact with. Others even evolved into my mentors over the years, helping to guide my path towards my career goals, and offering me invaluable advice over the years.
As I mentioned, teaching terrifies me, and this is perhaps because, as a famous quote goes, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know” – Albert Einstein. At the time I took Exercise Physiology in my undergrad, I felt that my instructors were the smartest, most capable people in the field I knew, and I looked up to them immesurably. I hope to be that vision to some of my students, but I do not expect it. My only hopes for this first week of school is that I can teach my students a thing or two, and that they don’t realize how much I still don’t know.