by Connie Cave

Connie Cave's Secondary Education Portfolio

Introduction to the Portfolio

Autobiographical Reflection

   I wish I could tell you for certain when and why I decided to become a teacher.  The truth is that either my memory doesn’t go back that far or that teaching for me is about who I am rather than what I aspire to be.  In my earliest of memories, I am alone in the playhouse that my father built.  Inside, I am busy, not at playing house and mothering my dolls, but with conducting a school room and teaching my students.

   Today this recollection seems strange to me as I realize that at that age I had no experience with a real school.  School was where my sister and my brother went, a place that I was barred from because of age.  It seemed a mystery even then to me, but one of imagined delights. As I played in my playhouse I could often hear the noise and laughter of the real schoolyard that was but a block from my home, and yet a world away.

   My siblings would return in the afternoons full of excitement and lots of stories.  They would often play school with me so that I could learn what I needed to know in order to be ready for real school.  I was an eager pupil and worked hard to learn their lessons, to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance, to read a book all by myself.  My prized possessions were: my Red Chief writing tablet, my green fat pencils, my pink eraser, and my box of crayons. Oh, glorious crayons!  To this day the smell of a new box of crayons can create a flashback so vivid and so sweet.

   I can also tell you that discovery and the search for understanding were a part of me, if not at birth, certainly from the time of my earliest days.  To this day I feel this need on a celluar level.  The world has always been a series of presents just waiting for me to open them. I recall how as a child I would sit in the middle of the back seat of our family car and lean forward to get a clear view of the road ahead.  I would quiz my parents about first this and then that.  My parents, in turn would feed my mind with stories, with humor, with music, and with many questions of their own.  All of this was offered to fire and nourish my desire to learn and to know.  I suspect now that this hunger for discovery was, indeed, an inheritance from my parents.  I am grateful to my parents for knowing the true value of discovery and knowing how to pass that along to me in turn.  I’ve been blessed, wealthy in this joy of learning.  How could I not want to share this experience with others?

   Life circumstances have been such that I have been long delayed from the formal classroom.  Yet my years as a parent have taught me that the lion’s share of parenting is, in fact, teaching.  For twenty-plus years I have been engaged in lighting the fire and encouraging and supporting my two children along their own voyages of discovery.  It has been an absolute delight to watch as they learn and grow! 

   Has it been validating when my children exhibit traits and values that I see in myself?  Absolutely! However, it has been far more wonderful and exciting when they exhibit the many qualities and talents that seem to be uniquely their own.  They have taught me over and over the sacred nature of that moment when they take an idea and adopt it as their own or dismiss it.  Paramount in the lessons taught to me by my children is the understanding that each person’s life is truly their own and must ripen according to their own unique potential.  My children have taught me the lesson of patience.

   So it would seem that I am finally to have my own real, not imagined, classroom.  To that classroom I will bring this thirst for discovery and understanding, this need to and joy in sharing, and the patience to appreciate this process of the journey.  I think that little girl alone in the playhouse except for her dolls and her dreams would be pleased.




Smith Family Portrait

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