February 3, 2023

Merranko Muses on Teachable Moments

Teachable Moments

Dr. Sarah E. Merranko, president of the Faculty Senate at the College of Southern Maryland, was one of the key speakers at the 60th spring commencement ceremonies at CSM’s La Plata Campus on May 17, 2019. Dr. Merranko spoke beautifully about life and its teachable moments.

“It’s often said that learning doesn’t always take place in the classroom and that some of the most important lessons are learned on the playground, in the street, on the job, or somewhere altogether unexpected,” Dr. Merranko said during her speech.

“We call these opportunities of reflection ‘teachable moments.’ As a professor, I use that phrase at least once a week when I see the flicker in someone’s eyes that shows me the unexpected happened.”

She said the flicker in the students’ eyes is exactly what makes the moments so powerful. “They come quickly like a summer storm, and they are gone just as fast. These moments may cause pain, conflict, confusion, and create a feeling within like you have lost your sense-of-self. Sometimes it leads to bittersweet endings and other times to new adventures that we never would have imagined for ourselves.”

Dr. Merranko said that many people often do not realize how often professors have their own teachable moments, and that they often come from working with students.

“You have taught us to listen — really listen — not only to what you are saying, but also, what you aren’t. You have taught us every semester how our passion for what we do can spark a passion in your learning, even when it’s not a subject that you previously cared about.

“You have taught us how to be vulnerable with showing our own imperfections, by letting us know that we are still doing a great job at the end of the semester. You have taught us so many lessons that will stay with each of us far after the chairs from today are packed up, pictures have been taken, and you have moved on to your next great adventures.”

Dr. Merranko was just one of the speakers during the May 17 ceremonies. For more about the event, visit the CSM newsroom.

For a listing of all candidates for graduation, click here.

For photos from the 2019 commencement ceremonies, go to the college’s website.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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