On Being An Adult Learner

The Assessment Leadership Academy I am participating in has begun, and I feel like a student on the first day of class again. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this position — this position of student — as it’s been a while since I’ve taken a course, and I am particularly mindful of how I am experiencing it.

Let me share a few highlights with you:

  • I anxiously checked my email awaiting the online course login information.
  • When it came, I logged in as soon as I could, downloaded and thoroughly read the syllabus, took note of the due dates and the first assignments I needed to do, and ordered the text I needed (there are 12; I already have 11 of them, though to be clear, “have” them does not mean that I have read them).
  • I submitted my first assignment (a short bio) with great caution and hesitation. It was a bio — it was about me (in 50-100 words). Why I suddenly got squeamish about submitting it, I have no idea. But there you have it.
  • I carefully took the first self-assessment survey, wondering if I was actually assessing my own “competence” in specific course outcomes accurately or not. I questioned my answer on every question — as if there were a “right” answer. There wasn’t — it was a self-assessment, for god-sake!
  • I found a binder and organized the paper course materials in it so I could keep track of things. Yes, that’s right. A binder.

An aside: The last item — the binder organization piece — reminded me of my former love of Trapper Keepers. When I was in high school I’d buy a bunch of them and get all my courses organized by colored Trapper Keeper: red for math, blue for English, yellow for history, green for chemistry, etc. Do they still even make these great school supplies? I mean, this was the most brilliant organization system around in the mid-80s. Big-time kudos to Ms. or Mr. Trapper who invented the dang thing.

Anyway, what does all of this say about me?

It says, loud and clear: I’m an adult learner, through and through. I want to be prepared, on-top of things, organized, and competent. I am ready to learn; ready to think; ready to take it all in and make it my own. And I want to fully embrace this experience. Each and every minute of it — with or without a Trapper Keeper to keep me in line.


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