This week has been a whirlwind of prepping and planning. In moments between projects, I've glimpsed sadly at news of the devastation in Haiti and, more tragically, the response of ethnocentric, egotistic, misinformed fools like Pat Robertson. The "news" is full of violence and apathy, all candy-coated for mass-consumption. We live in a frighteningly uncaring pocket of the wider world. I find myself frequently falling into an easy attitude of selfish nonchalance just like everyone else. It’s painless to mourn the state of the union over a beer with friends. It’s not complicated to chat about my own relative prosperity compared to most people on the planet and feel thankful. It’s much harder to actuate those casual discussions into meaningful action. I haven’t figured it out yet; I don’t know how I can activate change, but I have identified what I feel is the root of many of our problems: apathy toward education.
The fact alone that we have colloquialisms such as:
"Those who can't teach."
The fact that:
“America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.”
--- Evan Esar
What happened to thoughts such as these?
“All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.”
“The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people.”
--- Claiborne Pell
“Peace has never come from dropping bombs. Real peace comes from enlightenment and educating people to behave more in a divine manner.”
--- Carlos Santana
We have countless seminars, public service announcements, facebook memes, and programs dedicated to making people “aware.” How about making people “aware” of their ability to learn, grow, and act? I’m just sayin’….
Teachers: Do not fall into a cycling pit of doom-and-gloom predictions about the annoying stupidity of your students. Do not begrudge the grading you *have* to do or the time you will spend prepping lectures. Teaching and learning will never become a higher priority (and your salary will never go up) if we don’t start making it valuable. And we can’t do that by making students feel unimportant, by shrugging off our responsibilities, or by ditching our office hours.
Students: Stop dreading the 50 minutes of your life you *have* to be in class. Stop arguing that nothing you do in school will ever be *relevant* to your life. Don’t ask me when you will ever do algebra again. Think about education as something you *get* to do – both in and out of class.
I completely believe that education and concern for the education of EVERYONE is the only answer to most of the messes we get ourselves into.
*This public service announcement has been brought to you by coffee. Thank you.*