Most of you know that I am a teacher. I teach writing courses and community-based learning classes through which my students volunteer in schools and other education organizations and come to PSU once a week to discuss issues surrounding education in our community and across the nation. The term is just winding up, and I’m relieved to have just submitted final grades after reading a small pile of lovely reflective essays on the experience students had during fall term. The thing that surprises students each term is that they always receive more than they give — they learn more, they understand more about themselves, and they know more about the community than expected.
As the instructor for the course, I feel the same way. I have always learned more than I have taught. For example, in my summer teaching, I learned something about the power of student-led discussion. And this term, I learned about the ways learning about social problems can manifest in action…or in despair.
For now, I’m leaving last term behind but will carry with me the energy and the questions of my students and community partners. In this light, I am posting about Portland State University’s Day of Service (on the MLK holiday), which will take place at Roosevelt High School. Register here to start a new year of getting more involved in the community. And keep checking back for more information on how to start 2012 out with a plan for community engagement.