Life is hard.. sometimes.

To get right to the point, life is hard… sometimes. We all encounter both positive and negative events throughout our lives, and each of these events, whether ongoing or not, have affected us, taught us, and shaped us into who we are today, and I’m no different. While writing this, I’ve been thinking about how I could tell my life story as a learner in just a few points. Well, here they are.

If you want to talk about hard, talk about golf. I’m not talking about just watching golf or talking about golf, I’m talking about actually playing golf. I was introduced to the game at a very early age, and I’ve been playing it ever since. I have, however, struggled tremendously at it -emphasis on tremendously. My best score is 77 (par is 72), I never played a varsity tournament in high school, and the only time I won a medal was in a JV tournament when I placed 2nd with an 87; but I still continue to play it. I can’t quit. As in life, you can’t quit either. You many struggle and struggle, but you keep on living because in the end, you know all that hard work will eventually pay off; key word: eventually. Golf has taught me to, in the words of Jack Nicklaus: “never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation.”golf_ball

Aside from golf, another huge part of my life is music. This runs in the family, as almost every family member, literally every family member, either sings or plays an instrument. When it comes to me, however, I don’t sing; I play percussion. There’s a reason for this. When I was in elementary school, I had a music teacher who was old fashioned in style, and therefore relatively harsh. When singing in class, I thought I sounded great (as every person does) but she thought otherwise. I discovered this when I decided to try out for a choral group, Sing Around Nebraska. To make a long story short, my teacher was the judge and when I went into audition, I was told that I couldn’t sing, and that I shouldn’t even try to sing. Awesome, right? Needless to say, I did, however, find my niche when it comes to music, and I’ve poured everything I am into becoming the best I can possibly be. Which leads me into my next point…singing

Like I said, I play percussion. My favorite instrument is the Marimba (yes the really big xylophone), and I owe the majority of my success to my middle school band director, Mr. Koch. By the time I got to middle school, I had very little self-esteem, and was extremely insecure. He took my under his wing, however, and really helped me reach my full potential when it came to music. For example, I was able to make All-State my senior year of high school, much to the surprise of my high school band director. I say this because that specific year, those in charge were only going to choose three mallet players, and I was the only one west of North Platte to make it. The other two players were phenomenal players, far better than me, and were from both Lincoln and Omaha. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience. Back to Mr. Koch, however, he even helped me all throughout high school, and still today remains a strong supporter, which means a lot to me.mallets

Like I said in my bio, I’m majoring in Elementary Education. I never, in the entire course of my lifetime, thought I would be majoring in a field that requires me to constantly be standing in front of a room full of people. You see, I’m terrified of public speaking, and there are numerous reasons/explanations as to why this is so, however, I can trace this fear back to one teacher, who practically humiliated me. This specific teacher was a math teacher, and it was in this class that he called me to the board to work a specific problem. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, however, if I had known how to work the problem in the first place. The problem was, however, was that I didn’t. I just stood at the board, halfway through this problem, trying to figure out what to do next, with those in my class whispering and giggling behind me. The worst part was that this teacher didn’t do anything to stop it, he just quietly sat there, staring at me. I was probably only up there for a couple minutes, but it seemed like eternity. It wasn’t until college, however, that I figured out how to overcome this fear (for the most part), and help me cope with another as well.calculator

My freshman year of college I was a music major. Of course it was because of this that I had to take multiple music theory classes, and it was in these classes that I was required to sing (remember I don’t sing). I had to, however, and I had to do it in front of the entire class. At first I was terrified, but as time went on, I became more comfortable and it became easier. Here I was in front of the entire class singing. Talk about killing two birds with one stone, right? Doing this taught me two things: 1) singing in front of people isn’t so bad, and 2) public speaking isn’t so bad as well!theory_music

So there you have it, five learning experiences that have shaped me into becoming who I am as a learner today! All 5 pictures were taken by me!




  1. graceharveyblog · January 18, 2016

    Wow! I can’t believe you actually had two bad experiences with two different teachers who thought it was okay to humiliate you! I think it is so sad to hear about those kinds of teachers, especially the one who told you not to even try to sing. It really makes you reflect on what kind of teacher you want to be, so you don’t end up like that. I also laughed about your learning experience with golf. I am 21 years old and I tried to golf for the first time this summer. My whole family golfs and even my fiance. So most of our summer activities included going to the golf course. I decided to give it a try so I wasn’t just sitting in the golf cart board and nothing is more frustrating then three different people trying to tell you the technique to use and telling you to try something different every time you swing! I finally told them to shut up and let me do it my own way even if it was wrong!


    • joshuapilkington · January 25, 2016

      Most definitely do it your own way; whatever gets your ball to the hole! Maybe someday you’ll be able to give your family and your fiance some advice if you keep at it. 🙂

      With the whole teacher thing on the other hand, you’re right. I definitely know how not to teach! Since I’ve gone through things like that though, it’s given me the know-how on how to connect with struggling kids and encourage and motivate them.


  2. taylorbauerblog · January 20, 2016

    Joshua, I think the examples you provide in this blog were wonderful and people can really relate to similar experiences. Even though I’m sure it was very difficult to deal with some of those situations, it will definitely help you in the long run as a future educator. The fact that you experienced terrible teachers like your music teacher and your math teacher, will help you do everything in your power to no be them. They might have thought that it wouldn’t effect you but bye golly it did. Any future educators should read this so they know what not to do. There are so many students these days that are afraid to answer questions because they’re scared it will be wrong and they’ll be made fun of. It is the same thing with getting up in front of your peers because there is a possibility you will be judged. The biggest thing to remember as a teacher is to create a safe environment for your students which includes no judgement.


    • joshuapilkington · January 25, 2016

      Taylor, thank you! You know, I’m thankful that those things happened because like you said, I can do everything in my power not to turn into teachers like them. I’ve seen so many of my friends/siblings struggle as well for the same reason, and it’s important to encourage kids and instill confidence in them. Your response means a lot!


  3. chandrachadroneagles · January 21, 2016

    I thought that this post was constructed in a very phenomenal manner!! What is so sad to me is that you had two incredibly negative experiences–from teachers none the less–that created several of your fears! I think that this happens far to often where kids just want to be kids and sing and play and not be embarrassed and then a teacher makes them the forefront of humiliation without realizing it. Through my experiences subbing I have seen this in the classrooms far to often where a kid is so embarrassed to do something because a teacher made them feel that they couldn’t do something. That’s unacceptable in my eyes to the profession. Where we are supposed to nurture and encourage students to face their fears–we all to often create them. I think that this is something that will be so important to realize as we all embark on the career.
    Thank you for the wonderful post!


    • joshuapilkington · January 25, 2016

      Hey Chandra! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve seen this when subbing. If someone’s going to tear kids down instead of building them up, then they need to choose a different profession! I really like your comment on us needing to nurture and encourage students to face their fears. That really is part of the job description! Thanks for the response!


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