As I celebrate my birthday I wanted to thank my students past, present, and future; their presence is an invaluable present. In addition to the people I teach in classrooms I also consider my sons as my students: they teach me about life and my place in it — in a different way, each and every day. Teaching is my passion and, just as a leader needs followers, I would not be a teacher if I had no students. Whether in a class or in life, my students are the greatest gifts I have been fortunate enough to receive.
Accordingly, as I explain in my Teaching Philosophy, “Embracing Søren Kierkegaard‘s concept “to be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner,” I join my students on a journey of generative learning. Learning generatively integrates existing knowledge with emerging ideas, producing more personalized perception. This encourages individuals to actively engage rather than passively listen. It is for this reason that I am motivated by my motto “learn continuously, live generatively.”
Interdisciplinary by nature, I welcome varied viewpoints: no idea is off limits so long as it contributes to the conversation. In that spirit I encourage my students to embrace their ideas and own their education. I therefore wanted to thank each of my students for being my “birthday gifts.” I am grateful for the opportunity to learn with and from each of you!