A Moment of Clarity

So often when I have written a post for this blog it has felt like a compulsion. The words have been spinning around in my head for several days until at last the pressure becomes so great they burst  through the keyboard. Particularly when I’ve written about my objections to traditional educational paradigms it has felt like exorcising demons.

kids(4)Looking back I have wondered where those demons came from. They came not from my school. That is for sure. In fact there has been nothing but support from my employer for this blog in which I have been questioning everything.

How did I get so lucky to work at Proctor Academy?

kids10 The demons of the traditional educational paradigms were within me, the result of my own experience as a student, the teacher training I received as a young pup after college, and a lifetime immersion in the field of education, that I realize now has been unable or unwilling to examine itself deeply until recently.


Today I wake up in a new and wonderful place. Having written about what I don’t like about the bell curve concept of testing, or why I felt dubious about the use of valuable educational time this fall for exam week, I feel freed up.

What is left is a sensation of both clarity and peace.


The demons are gone, for now anyway, maybe forever?  The flavor of this blog may change.  I’m not sure.  It seems to be a journey. There are new things I want to write about.  Perhaps the demons were mountains that had to be climbed and right now the path is through green valleys.


I know why I’m here and what is my purpose.

I am here for the kids.


Certainly I’ve always known this, but having processed so much through the writing of this blog, this new clarity is an open space, like a crystalline bright fall day.

kids(5)This is a space to continue to reinvent curriculum for kids, to continue to work on techniques that nurture not just their academic minds, but also their hearts and their souls.

This is what education is about to me.

It is about the kids.

kids(1)After all, what else can each of us do, but attempt to make a small bit of difference in the corner of the world where we find ourselves?

kids(6)Being a teacher is the best job I can imagine!


About Sue Houston

I've been teaching high school science for over 25 years. The more I learn, the more questions I have about how good education really works. This blog is an attempt to explore the fundamental question of "How do Kids Learn?" This blog will include posts related to technology in education, neuroscience, behavioral science and real life experiences in the classroom. Please, I invite you all to join the conversation in the comments sections. Perhaps together we can find more insights into how kids learn! If you are a student, educator, or past student (that covers everyone, right?) you have something to contribute! :)
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7 Responses to A Moment of Clarity

  1. Awesome post, Sue. I’m grateful for your optimistic voice in this field that often seems determined to use a cookie-cutter, narrowly focused approach to education. I especially liked these lines: “This is a space to continue to reinvent curriculum for kids, to continue to work on techniques that nurture not just their academic minds, but also their hearts and their souls.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adam Jones says:

    Great and honest post. I am imagining tears in your eyes while smiling — the result of reflection and appreciation. I particularly liked and resonated with these words, “What is left is a sensation of both clarity and peace.” It’s true. In reflection and then redesign it feels like you are sifting through things that don’t work, things that kinda work (but need development), and things you don’t know enough about to make a judgement (but seem exciting). It is freeing to let go of the way we used to do things in service of creating a better learning environment. And yes, at the center of it all…is the kids. It is all about them. Their learning. Their approaches. Learning is so often messy, spontaneous, irregular, non-linear and complex. It is FUN to try and create learning environments that honor that “natural law” and see what might be possible. It really is a fun journey…one that is teaching me to be a better teacher, but ultimately a better, more compassionate and adaptive human being. Lots of love Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Houston says:

      Wow, Adam… what a wonderful and thoughtful comment! Thank you so much! Many of those pictures did bring a tear to my eye this morning while putting this post together. Several of them are from last year’s biology class, students I have again this year in Chemistry or Climate Science class, and pondering their growth is a fabulous thing. The part of their growth that touches me the most is not the academic piece, (which has indeed been substantial) but more their growth as young people… becoming young adults, more confident in themselves, closer to being ready to go out into the world and make a difference of their own. It is such a privilege to be a part of their journey.


  3. aemsnh says:

    Go Sue…Exciting stuff!
    And I love spotting former AEMS students in your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

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