Kimberley Moran on Brian Cambourne's Wisdom

Noodle Expert Kimberley Moran explains the impact of Brian Cambourne's wisdom.

Noodle Expert Kimberley Moran explains the impact of Brian Cambourne's wisdom.

Who would you pick, alive or dead, to be your teacher for a year? What would you want to learn?

I would want Annie Dillard to be my teacher for one year. I'd like to be her apprentice, privy to the inner workings of her day. I want to learn how to look at the world and record it just as it is. I want to learn to use journals to further all of my investigations. I think it was so hard for her to push forward, regardless of what she thought people would think. I know she would have much to say about how she spent her life and why she made the choices she did. It is easy to say, "I'd like to write in a journal." It is much harder to do it day-in and day-out, even when you don't have much to say.

What is one small piece of advice that has had a big impact on your life?

"Assume nothing, model everything." — Brian Cambourne

I read this while I was getting my master's in literacy. It sticks with me every day while I teach. When I read posters telling kids to be responsible or respectful, I wonder "Did anyone show them what that means?" As a parent, I remind myself to model everything I want my children to be and do.

Where would you send a student who hasn't traveled before?

I think everyone should travel to Europe and live there, even if just for a month. In America, we tend to think less about the quality of our daily lives. I found in Europe that people took time to create beauty in how they lived. They ate beautiful food in small amounts. They brought children with them wherever they went, understanding that we need to model how to be adults. It is important to see that the whole world is not eating at chain restaurants and serving their children chicken nuggets or grilled cheese sandwiches.

When was a time that you failed academically, and what did you learn from the experience?

I took a course called "Music Appreciation" during my sophomore year in college. I had played the violin for over 13 years, so the course was a no-brainer. I hardly ever showed up to it, though. In the end, my professor failed me, and when we talked about it after I got my report card, she admitted that I knew everything that was needed to pass the course — but she also felt that I shouldn't have taken something I didn't need. She thought I should have pushed myself and, more importantly, reminded me that showing up is 90 percent of the deal. I remember this all the time: Show up.

Why did you go into your field, and how is it different from what you expected?

I went into teaching because I had always been great with kids, and it seemed like a good fit. After getting started, though, I realized it wasn't exactly what I had anticipated. I had thought it would involve hanging out with kids and reading a lot. While I sometimes do these things, I also have to plan every moment of every day. I have to think carefully about the kind of teacher and person I want to present to the community. I have to reflect on my daily work as much as possible. I have to be okay with never feeling finished.

I also never thought I'd feel so loyal to a job, nor feel such inner satisfaction.

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