The Know It All

Kid in dunce cap

Wikipedia has made us all smartasses.  The speed and ability to search for information regarding virtually anything at the stroke of our fingertips has resulted in a flattening out of what was once considered wisdom.  Forget knowledge experts, we are the wikiexperts.  Sitting in class, one can do a quick search on an unfamiliar person mentioned in passing and gain a brief awareness of the individual in question, or, if you want to get the run down on a philosophical argument…bam! it rights there, glowing on your computer screen for your viewing pleasure.  This raises the question however of comprehension.  While anyone can look up information on a subject, the question remains, do you understand what you are  looking at?  A recent study showed that children believed virtually everything they saw on the internet.  They had almost no filter for discerning between what was fake and what was real on the world wide web.  I recall when the internet was finally gaining steam, that many a joke was told about the pseudo truthfulness of content on the web such as  “It’s true, I saw it on internet!” often as the punchline.  Yet, this fiction is becoming reality.  The blurring of distinctions between the real world and the hyper real is making us less sensitive to the physical world around us.  Who knows what this means for our future but it certainly raises some questions as to the passive nature of the internet and its affects on our society.  Which brings me to the know it all.  This enlightened individual likes to believe that a cursory glance at any topic on the internet instantly makes them an authority of the subject.   Let me be the first to say that this is not wisdom.  People can know a lot of information about a lot of subjects but this hardly qualifies as wisdom.  If there is one thing I owe a debt of gratitude to my liberal arts undergrad for, it is that they taught me how to think.  Information recall is but a single aspect of comprehension, which includes  analysis, judgment and sound reasoning.  There are a number of factors beyond simply information recall that contributes to a well-informed perspective.  I am reticent to even write a post like this because I know I am all too often guilty of failing to take my own medicine.  Yet, it needs to be said and let this be a warning to the know it alls.. I’m onto your game 🙂

What Teachers Make

This is a brilliant exposition of the fallacy of monetary gain as it relates to the profession of teaching.  Thanks to Kelly Gray for posting this gem. 

Here is the unedited version in text.

What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school

By Taylor Mali

He says the problem with teachers is, “What’s a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”
He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests
that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.

Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite company.

“I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor,” he says.
“Be honest. What do you make?”

And I wish he hadn’t done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you get a drink of water?
Because you’re not thirsty, you’re bored, that’s why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?”
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a goddamn difference! What about you?

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 3:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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