I believe in learning, change, and

David - Richmond, Virginia
Entered on March 23, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Having started the process of writing down what I believe a number of times I realized that there are many things that I believe and choosing just one to focus on was very difficult, where as writing about all of them would be too exhausting. I am both a teacher and a scientist and learning is really what my job is all about and what I do every day. Whether I am trying to get a student to understand a concept or idea, or whether I am trying to figure out an answer to a particular problem that no one knows the answer to—it’s all about learning.

This morning I was interviewed by a graduate student from the education department, and she asked me a number of questions about teaching as well as about learning. During the interview a question came to me, “How do I know that I am learning?” Initially this seemed to be a silly question, but I was a bit surprised with my response. I said that I know that I am learning because I change.

With this realization many things make much more sense to me. Whether I am learning about some biological process, a mathematical technique, a foreign land, a different culture or religion, or just the name of a neighbor down the street, I change. The more I learn, the more my perception of the world changes and so the world around me changes. As my perception changes I change as well. Not only does my world change, but my understanding of the world changes, the understanding of myself changes, and in fact what I believe changes!

To me the true value of the series “This I Believe” is a vehicle for me to learn, to change my world, to change me, and to change what I believe in. So for me—the more I learn the more I change, this I believe, I believe… for now.