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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

From the Editor's Desk - Education

Pin It For those of you who haven't followed my other blog for the past year, I decided to share something this week which I posted about a year ago. 

You see, I am a firm believer in education. I am also a believer that your education is not necessarily the responsibility of others. This is the message I have my students read the first few weeks of school and write a journal response to it

What can I say? I’m a double-dipper…

From the Editor’s Desk

How much to you put into your own education? I mean, how much effort do you really put into school?

When I was a kid, I was under the mistaken belief that it was the responsibility of my teacher to make sure that I learned. My job—I thought—was to go to school, sit in my desk, daydream, turn in homework that I did a halfhearted job on, and complain from time to time about just how much I hated homework and school.

You know the years have flown since I was in elementary school, and I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t really my teacher’s job to make sure that I learned.

It was mine.

No matter what I thought, my teacher wasn’t affected by whether or not I paid attention in class. If I learned it, I learned it. If I didn’t, my teachers didn’t go home having their lives changed for the better or the worse. It was my life that was affected.

The reason that I bring this up is that there seems to be an increasing number of students who seem to think that it is the job of their teacher to make sure they learn while they are at school. I’m here to tell you that this is simply not true. Now, I’m not saying that a teacher shouldn’t be prepared, because they should be, what I am saying is that the job of learning is yours.

There’s an old saying which goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.” Have you ever heard somebody say that before? Maybe your parents or grandparents? Do you understand what it means? When I was a kid, I sure didn’t. What the heck did drinking horses have to do with me?

To be honest? Everything.

You see, a horse will only drink when he is ready to. You can take him to the water trough, you can even try to force his head into the water, but until he is ready to take that drink, it just won’t happen.
In a lot of ways you are just like that horse; you cannot be forced to learn…you have to decide that you want to learn. Then—and only then—will the learning really happen for you; it won’t happen until you make the decision for yourself.

You know that it all comes down to one person…


After all, you all know that if you really wanted to, you could space off in class, and not pay attention in the slightest. Right? But who does this hurt in the end…really?

Just one person: You.

If the learning of the content doesn’t happen, whose fault is it? Is it the fault of your teachers? Is it your parents’ fault for not making you do your homework; for forcing you to read at night?

Now, when I was a kid I might have disagreed and said that it was my teachers’ fault; I’d have probably argued that if only Mr. Miller were a bit more interesting then I’d have learned what he was trying to teach. But really, let’s be honest here…was I coming to school to be entertained, or to be taught? Sure, it’s great when these two things happen together, but when they don’t can I really blame the teacher?
The truthful answer is:

“No. No I can’t.”

So now it comes down to you…what kind of effort are you going to put into your own education?

I mean, really?

When you stop to think about it, when you try to get out of things in school or find shortcuts in life, in the end you are just cheating yourself. You may not understand how this can hurt you right now, but one day you will.

So, what happens now? To be honest, I don’t know. It really depends an awful lot on you now doesn’t it? I would hope from this day on that you’d to put a little bit more into your own learning each and every day; after all, it affects you more than anyone else.

You know what though? Despite everything else, there is one enormous reason for putting more into school each and every day. So, what’s the reason?

YOU are worth the effort. Give yourself your personal best.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

Wow, this is a great post.. As a parent I've seen how my 3 are so different and how they achieve goals in their own way.. What I have learned is that my concern for them doing their very best is fine but THEY have to be the one to want to achieve it... Having the 3rd one 20 years ago, I guess it took having him to realize that I had to take a backseat and let him make his own mistakes. That the grades he earned was just that.. Even tho I wanted him to strive since I knew his potential... In the end the grades are his alone and NOT mine... Also, my worry and stress has lessened and has made me a happier person and has given him the responsibility to own up to his and for him to face his choices be it wrong or right...

Sue said...

Great thoughts. Your students are in for a wonderful year.


Shannon said...

While I may not be sharing today's Atomic Wedgie post with my boys - I will MOST DEFINITELY be sharing this one. Thanks Mr. Z - incredible words of wisdom for students and teachers alike.

MBGITWWR said...

Loved. Every. Word. I sincerely wish someone had presented me with this paper when I was younger. You're students will be enriched for sure.

Amanda said...

Just today in English we were discussing whether rights come with responsibility. My opinion is that we have the right to certain things-like an education-but we are responsible and accountable for the choices we make concerning our rights. :)

Mamma has spoken said...

Amen brother, AMEN! Too many times I have sat in teacher/parent conferences and heard how it's not Johnny's fault that he didn't (insert missed assignment here)and that the teacher needs to cut him a break. I want to scream at them about what life skill their child is learning by doing the assignments on time and turning them in on time and being responsible for doing it on time. Many bosses wouldn't be cutting Johnny a break....

Natasha said...

Amen! What a great reminder for your students. They're lucky to have a teacher like you that cares so much about them.

Cheeseboy said...

The kids? How about the parents? I am seeing that they have the same attitude as the kids often.

I enjoyed this post. As a fellow teacher, there was so much truth to it and it was so well put.

Bits-n-Pieces said...

Very good!

Anonymous said...

'Light bulb moment': I see!! Now I know why I did so poorly in school! I get it now!!

I was never taken to the trough for a drink!!! :D

tammy said...

Great post. I agree with Abe that the parents need to realize this as well. I'm sure you can tell a difference with the kids that get the help, encouragement and discipline at home and those that think it falls on the system. You're doing a great job teaching this to the kids early on.

M-Cat said...

I needed this about 15 years ago!

Do your students and their parents realize just how lucky they are?

mama-face said...

this is great...i'm going to read it to my 9 year old; it will be good for him to realize that he doesn't know everything there is to know already...and my 19 year old-she definitely thinks that if the college professor isn't entertaining enough-why try?...you know what I mean.

really, I do love my children...and they are successful students. :)

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