My oldest son is a kindergarten teacher. His mother and I are extremely proud of him and like to think we had a little influence on his choice of professions. Every day he helps shape all the learning that will ever come after for boys and girls just beginning their formal education. It is truly a labor of love for him.
Unfortunately, statistics tell us that a surprisingly large percentage of today’s bright-eyed kindergarteners will never graduate from high school and some of those will presumably kiss education goodbye forever. But for many of us, kindergarten is the beginning of a relationship that will last a lifetime.
Cable television and the Internet have afforded us countless opportunities to learn lots of new and exciting things on our own: want to understand the recent credit crisis? BAM! Train your dog to sit? VOILA! Learn what it’s like to be a Muslim in America? No problem! Years ago, learning to do most anything after you completed your formal education involved going to a library or finding someone who already did what you wanted to learn and who was willing to teach you. Not anymore.
Of course, for quite a few—those who still have an infatuation for the classroom—community colleges and universities have credit and non-credit courses on just about any topic your heart desires. This semester alone, our own university has a non-credit program for adults that covers such diverse topics as code breaking in World War II and the presidential nominating process. It attracts a devoted group of students and older adults are particularly fond of it.
Perhaps the greatest boon for people whose affection for education ad infinitum has been the explosion of online learning opportunities, which removes most of the obstacles of time and distance that used to complicate the pursuit of knowledge. Our home state of North Carolina is a leader in online education and the 16 campus UNC system offers an enormous variety of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs that are as near as your computer. What’s not to love?
Do you remember your Kindergarten teacher? How did he or she shape your love of learning?
Photo Credit Jason Dunnivant