The Joys and Trials of Being a Lifelong Learner


SOL- January 19, 2016

The Joys and Trials of Being a Lifelong Learner

A colleague made a comment recently about me being a lifelong learner recently and while it is certainly true it can be a double-edged sword. That got me to thinking about the pros and the cons (and I definitely believe there are more important pros than there are cons).


  • I get to keep things fresh and try to improve (I am applying to TCRWP this summer because I desperately want to learn from and with them)
  • I get to benefit from other people’s research via reading their books, blogs, etc
  • I always know that next year’s lessons will be tweaked based on new learning
  • I get to work with colleagues to refine things
  • I get to share ideas with colleagues near and far
  • I never feel “good enough” (I only recently have read lots about Imposter Syndrome and I recognize it in many ways)
  • I love my job and want to work hard to be better
  • I have mentors that I respect (both in real life and those I just “know” virtually)
  • I like to try new things
  • I am a reflective person
  • I like to set goals for myself


  • I sometimes have to learn the same lessons over and over
  • I know that next year I will tweak most things
  • I hate the status quo- because “we always have” is not a good reason for me
  • I never seem to have enough time to accomplish all I want (I recently joined the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club  to try to improve my efficiency)
  • I do not reuse my lessons well- I tend to start each unit as a blank slate without pulling up last year’s unit
  • I tend to overanalyze
  • I am a big fan of growth mindset but have a hard time believing that some of my “not yets” will turn into strengths

After reading this over I notice that in some cases my pros and cons could easily be reversed- I guess it all depends on my perspective on any given day. I am definitely someone who gets excited about learning when it is something I have chosen and that is an important reminder to me as a teacher to build in choice whenever possible.

8 thoughts on “The Joys and Trials of Being a Lifelong Learner

  1. Bernadette

    Interesting post. I never thought of using the term life long learner in quite that way. But after reading your post, I will feel better about learning lessons again and again.

  2. Michelle Haseltine

    I love this post!!! My favorite con is one of my own, “I sometimes have to learn the same lessons over and over.” YES!!! Hahaha! I remind myself that although I may be a slow learner sometimes…at least I’m learning!

  3. jarhartz

    I had that same “reversal” thought. You will love learning with TCRWP. They are da best! And I’d like to add in an NCTE trip on your PD planning list. Just saying…

  4. Adrienne

    ” sometimes have to learn the same lessons over and over”
    This is a hard one for me. I’m glad you added it because, although I like to learn new things, I like to master them quickly and easily.

  5. Linda Baie

    I think these could be reversed, or put them all in the positive, Erika. It’s tricky to over-analyze, seems like the self-doubt enters in, but teaching can be so subjective so it’s tough to choose what really is the right lesson, or approach to any one student. Sometimes we just have to say “enough”, this is the path I’m choosing, until next time (ha). I really think you’ve described a lifelong learner well, & as said, tricky.

  6. barbarasut

    We are soul sisters; I, too, have been described as and identify as a “lifelong learner” which does have its advantages and disadvantages. I often wondered why I could never just save myself some time and energy by repeating a lesson, for example. But I think Linda Baie is right: Each year presents new students and new challenges, so “tweaking a lesson” or even redoing a lesson seems the best way to reach that new audience. I also love how my constant desire/urge to improve keeps me passionate about my work. It’s really a “gift” and I have learned to think of it as such.


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