Bird Droppings November 23, 2021

Do we teach, or are we taught?

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” Albert Einstein

So many times, when discussing students who are having difficult times, an individual teacher’s perspective is all that matters. Recently I was about to thump another teacher in the head, listening to comments about whether this student had a better work ethic. I have heard about work ethic a lot lately. This or that student needs a better work ethic. But what if you do not like that teacher and or subject, and better yet, what if you have a disability that inhibits you. Every day I see square pegs hammered into round holes. It is the way our education system works. I am always amused that Mr. Einstein did not have a great work ethic in school. He failed math a time or two, and then he rewrote the books.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

We rely so much on prepackaged, prewritten, preformed, precooked, pretested, pre-read, and pre-understood everything that creativity, imagination, and uniqueness get left on the shelf. I recall giving make-up Georgia High School Graduation tests and End of Course Tests over the years in the high school. In theory, tests of content with a smattering of cognitive questions thrown in; however, several questions while multiply choice could be answered in numerous ways. Here are high school students trying to analyze and answer questions, for example, science teacher’s question. What if you miss one of those questions and get a 499 and a 500 is passing. A good friend who graduated nearly ten years ago had taken the science test four times and failed by a total of eight points and has not graduated. What if this person answered that one question the same way, which is either incorrect or not answerable. This person was an A and B student and, after four tries, was too frustrated to try again.

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

How and why and what should be taught are always at the crux of curriculum and instructional administrators’ challenges. But one of the most challenging aspects of education is instilling a desire to learn, as Einstein states, wanting to seek the mysterious. Too few students genuinely want to learn most and not just pass and get on. One of my greatest moments was being asked who wrote the poem when I read Dylan Thomas in class one day. I was asked by a kid who most thought could not read, and he read the entire book that weekend. The mysterious is a mysterious thing. Would you please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart’s namaste?

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

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