Hey Prof. Gyaan,
In a life so little and experiences so scarce, I saw the ideal teacher in Robin Williams in movies like Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society. The stuff he said, it made you want to smell the roses. It got me excited about the little things: the colour of sunsets, the smell of fresh bread wafting through the air from bakeshops early in the morning, the walks on cobblestone streets, the scent of paper – page after page in a sepia-toned, vintage copy or a white, freshly-printed book, the boom of 80’s music from a gramophone on a rainy day and then the aroma of earth after that very rainstorm, the sound of skate blades on ice and the keys of a typewriter and sleepy voices and crackling fires and train whistles. Even the smile in someone’s voice.
Or Jack Black in School of Rock. I saw what Art does. It has the role in education of helping children become more like themselves instead of more like everyone else. That when it comes to anything in life – friendships, relationships, the work you do, the art you make – when it comes to anything, if it does not create an avalanche within your chest, if it does not move you, and inspire you, if it does not come from the deepest part of who you are, it is not for you. It is not for you!
I think it’s true for us all. Not just children at school. Particularly because, as you grow up, passions fade and enthusiasm gets mistaken for foolishness. But an education that was supportive of your passions would shield you from a grey world that wants to stop you from shining. Education would be your Sun. And it should, for us all.
If education is truly meant to put you more in touch with yourself and perhaps, help you become the best version of yourself, then I ought to have been told by the Robin Williams’ and the Jack Blacks in my life:
“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the games you play, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You’re the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. A collective of every experience you’ve had in your life. You’re every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colours fill your mind.”
That just when I think I know something, I have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, I must try. That’s education right there. The acceptance and consideration of different points of view. The ability to agree to disagree.
You know better than I do that good teachers know how to bring out the best in students. I think the dream begins and endures, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick to spur you on or tell you the truth. Sometimes…sometimes the caring adult is you, Prof. Gyaan. Not a biological parent or family member or friend or neighbour. And no one ever forgets how you made them feel.
Change, the transformation, the revolution you’re speaking of begins with teachers believing in the nobility of their profession. Do they value their own role? To me there doesn’t seem like a nobler employment; anything more valuable to the world than a person who instructs the rising generation. It’s important to know if they see themselves bearing the responsibility afforded to them.
Education, rightly identified by you, is not a bunch of customary subjects strung together and force fed to imaginative, curious, impressionable young minds. It has purpose. Whether economic or cultural or social or physical or personal, the fact is that every kid is a genius in their own right. Only an education made to order will ever be able to flesh that out.
Just as much as we need a rising generation of active, creative, adaptable, aware, streetwise, clever, talented and inspired individuals, we need them to have brilliant teachers to look back upon with gratitude; we need them to have heroes who touched their hearts, fed their souls, assisted self-discovery, unleashed their potential and led them to unlimited growth.
In the same breath I want every teacher to, like Dewey Finn, confess and confirm, “I have been touched by your kids…and I’m pretty sure I’ve touched them.”
Perhaps, the greatest sign of success for any teacher comes when you’re able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.” That’s when you’ve triggered a spark and let them fire. That’s when they’re involved. That’s when they’re loving every bit of learning. That’s when they’ve created their own education.
And maybe then “I’ll seize the day. Carpe Diem. Make my life extraordinary.”
“Because we don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” If education can help you find your element, your one or ten overriding purposes in life, your mojo, the reason you were sent on this Earth and how you’d like to contribute to making it better, your multi-potentialite nature or singular focus, your resourcefulness and versatility and flexibility, it’s liberated you. It’s done the trick! And it can’t do so without dinning into us all respect and reverence for the bounty of Nature, The Arts and Sport – just as much an asset as they are boons.
You have an idea Prof. Gyaan. You have it down in words. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. Let your vision become the revolution. There’s a time for daring and a time for caution and a wise man understands which is called for. This is a battle. With the current state of education. If we don’t break out and find our voice, the casualties could be our hearts and souls and minds. And if we wait to begin, we may not find our voices at all. “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”
“Your move, chief.”
No way in disarray,
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