Steven D. Brookfield quotes Myles Horton as saying "I believed then and still believe that you learn from your experience of doing something and from your analysis of the experience (The Skillful Teacher, 2006, p. 14). He then goes on to explain that simply having experiences does not mean that they are understood.
In my opinion, it takes reflection and critical analysis of what happen in our lives, and in our lives as teachers to truly understand. I think what sets me apart is the fact that I do reflect, and at times, too much. I am always trying to learn new things about myself and my craft; hence my need for a 12-step program.
In the arena of confusion and ambiguity (as Brookfield calls it), this reflection, perpetual self-analysis, and post-traumatic growth builds my strength as a gladiator (p.9). I guess what I mean is, we cannot grow if we choose to remain the same and if you prefer to live a life unchanged, I ask:
I am in that 50% group that said "because a teacher inspired them when they were young." I guess there is a small part of me that wants to pay it forward. Maybe I'll be that person who inspires someone to change their life. Seems like a big responsibility, but it is one I am willing to take. If my teachers had not, I wouldn't be the teacher I am today. To get us all reflecting and to help us long on this learning journey, here is a link to the Alberta Teacher's Association with some self-assessment tools for teachers and tools for school leaders.