August 11, 2006

The Game of School

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:44 pm by mrsmauck

Don’t you just hate it when you find out you are a hypocrite? So I’m reading some more of The Passionate Teacher, the part about “The Game of School.” It’s very easy for teachers to form a silent agreement with the kids: you stay busy, stay quiet, and we’ll both stay out of trouble and pass the time here together. Students play the game by doing the least amount of work possible to get the grade they want; they don’t invest themselves personally into their work or exert any extra effort. Teachers play the game when they take the easy way out in giving assignments and grading: multiple choice tests because they’re faster to grade, textbook curriculum because it requires little thought to assemble.

Ah yes, what a travesty! I think to myself. I’m going to inspire passion from my students; never any of this slide-by stuff. But was it not me who only last year told a fellow student that I think the smartest students find out how to do the least amount of work possible and still get good grades? I was not only playing, I was a dominator in “The Game of School”! I don’t mean to rationalize what I said, but really and truly, I’m a student just like many of you: a procrastinator, a groaner, a page counter. BUT when I get in the middle of a classroom discussion about a novel, I absolutely come alive. I love stretching my brain like that! Same thing with doing research for a paper, and even writing it: I moan and groan about doing it, but once I get started, I take research for way too long, take notes voraciously, write with relish, and polish with flair. I just don’t like to reveal this passion to other students very often. We’re not really cultured to do that. Heck, I only just admitted that I actually liked a classroom novel for the first time (in front of the class) last semester! Enjoying reading and writing for class is just considered nerdy in school, no matter what way you look at it. You have to work for those discussions that push the limits of our brains and for those projects that light the students’ passion. Often the students don’t even realize they’re actually passionate learners, like me, until much later in life. What’s the moral of my little story? Probably a lesson most of you have already learned, but to me, it’s a revelation: Even if you’re a procrastinator, if you dread any semblance of work, you can still enjoy and be passionate about learning (and teaching!).

Ah, free at last, to be an unabashed learner. What a feeling!

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