“Ancora Imparo”

By February 16, 2012 Guest Posts

A blog written by 2009 Gold Star Teacher, Annette Duncan.

As educators, we’re surrounded by learning.  Whether it’s a student mastering a new word, or a child on the playground learning a new game.  We’re in the middle of a learning whirlwind.  Lately, I’ve not only felt like I’ve been in the middle of a whirlwind, I feel a bit like I’m hanging onto its tail with everything I’ve got.  That’s because in May I’m set to graduate with a doctorate in education.  It’s a goal I’ve had in my professional and personal sites for some time.

This should be a time when I finally sit back and say, “I’ve done it.  I finished my education.”  Instead, I find myself thinking about Michelangelo, a guy who died in 1564.  Supposedly, at the ripe old age of 87 he wrote the inscription “Ancora Imparo” (I am still learning) into one of his sketches and then repeated it out loud on his death bed.   The painter and sculptor who came from nothing and had done so much.  He was still learning.  As I prepare to graduate yet again, that is exactly how I feel.  “I am still learning.”

I don’t think any person who’s an educator at heart can ever feel they’re done learning.  We work in an ever-changing landscape with constant challenges and new expectations for both the students and ourselves.  The more we know about our jobs, the more we know we need to learn.  That’s what drew me to my current position as an Instructional Coach.  Not only do I get to help plan opportunities for my colleagues to further themselves professionally, every day I get the same chance to learn something new from them and their approaches to the subjects we explore.  Teachers today recognize the need to collaborate and learn from each other.  As we honor them each year, we know that behind every Gold Star teacher is a school community that has supported them along the way in their learning process. Lifelong learning is something we are modeling to each other and to our students.

So in May, I won’t be sitting at graduation thinking “That’s it, I’m done.”  I’ll be thinking, “I’m still learning.”  And that’s a good thing.