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Kristy Carlisle
May 16, 2011

LEARN. TEACH. CARE. A Mantra Academia May Have Forgotten.

My whole life, I have been teaching and caring. It’s no surprise that my career has led me into teaching and counseling. Besides being extraordinarily fulfilling to those who practice in them, both fields are highly valuable and impact many people. I take my careers very seriously and want to perform at my best, not just in terms of knowledge and skills, but more deeply as a human being with integrity. I plan to pursue a doctorate in Counselor Supervision some day and would love a professor’s life of researching, writing, and above all teaching and caring. I want to honor the profession, not with knowing, but with learning.

I believe that students should be valued and encouraged. I believe that their thoughts and feelings should be heard. We don’t learn in a vacuum. Learning takes place in context. As a professor, I would work to make that context a safe one, where thoughts and feelings count. Above all, I would allow students the right to make mistakes and revise them. I would allow them the right to learn and grow.

It’s true, I feel stifled in my education right now, but on the positive side, I am learning what kind of professor I want (and don’t want) to be in the future. I am also learning to advocate for myself, to persist in the face of obstacles (even when I no one would blame me for giving up and when many don’t understand why I haven’t yet), and to have confidence in my feelings and convictions. I can, even as one person, change the profession for the better. What matters is what has always mattered: teaching and caring. I sounds so simple, but I fear academia could suck it right out of me if I’m not vigilant. I will honor this profession as a learner and I will always love witnessing others’ learning. Learn. Teach. Care. That is the mantra with which I will make a difference in Academia.

Kristy L. Carlisle is a school counselor and a mental health counselor in training at Rider University. Her interests include protecting children from cyber-bullying and from food addiction.

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