When I was thirteen, my brother’s friend was always so proud of being a “nerd.” She would, with relish, call me a nerd too (like it was something to be proud about…) I didn’t want to be a nerd. I wanted to be cool. Or at least halfway cool.
I am embracing my inner nerd.
If being excited about learning makes me a nerd, bring it on. If wanting to tell everyone else about what I am learning is nerdy, bring it on. If hanging on each word my professor speaks causes others to give me a scarlet “N,” bring it on! If referencing classical literature…
I am taking a course right now about instructional practices, and I can’t believe everything I am learning! When I talk to my professor asking “I wonder…” questions, she encourages me (quite enthusiastically) to explore those topics. So I am. With gusto.
In addition, I am finding a lot of areas within the class where I can practice coaching my colleagues. Secretly, I ask them questions to encourage them to elaborate or think beyond what they’ve said to explore other facets. I am practicing being a good listener–something I struggle with due to my over-excitability. I am learning to let others finish their own sentences, and show them that they matter by being present in our conversations. Our teacher says, “The greatest gift you can give someone is to be a present listener. Listen with your eyes, your ears, and your heart.” Sigh. Please, oh teacher, tell me more. I am hanging on your every word.
Oh, wait, that’s nerdy, you say? Webster’s agrees: “One slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.”