Monday, June 25, 2012

Pauper's Wisdom

Knowing your are not smart allows for a keen insight to the world around you.  The time and mental energy wasted in trying to apprehend day to day events and happenings can be focused elsewhere on things like grading or connecting current events to curriculum.   If not there this energy can be used in other pursuits such as watching TV or fishing.  The true benefit of accepting your own ignorance is you are always on the lookout for people who "get it" and are primed to absorb their words to make yourself smarter.  Why beat a path through the woods when you can fall into the slipstream of great minds.

Learning me a book.  Smart People should learn some too.
That involves reading stuff from smart people.  The beneficial side effect is you end up reading a lot which I suppose counteracts the not so smart thing.   When that is not possible reading helps provide a clarity of thought when you are immersed knee deep in what you are thinking about.  In this case, school.    Finding readings that deal with teaching is a constant challenge and usually a further drain on an already depleted mental energy reserve.  They tend to be heavily laden with either speculative conclusions or are far too academic to be of much use.  So instead I sometimes delve into material concerning the state of teaching and education in general.  Seems quite a few of these author's conceal the fact they have little to do with or background in.... wait for it..., education.  A diverse range of views is usually helpful but one realization is that there are an abundance of these smart people out there who don't "get it."  I have found identifying them here in our semi-satirical effort fulfilling and perhaps gratifying in a not so healthy way. 

It is a far simpler effort to find things from people I disagree with.    They are everywhere.  I suppose most people feel this way but I am a remarkably agreeable individual.  This healthy pool of folks that are too smart for their own good are not shy with sharing their views and worse imposing them.  Be it a result of group think, strategic dynamism, or just poor judgement it seems far too easy for smart people to behave in not so intelligent ways when dealing with or directing education.  Think of it as Daniel Snyder running his NFL team.  The results are not always good.   I define this as whenever they do something I disagree by the way.   I like to justify this with my "pauper's wisdom".  Not so much granted by financial depravity(Teachers like to harp on the fact we have this) but by a foundation of understanding granted by remaining "just a teacher," feet firmly planted in the classroom with my students. I am poor in knowledge of the theoretical world of education but rich from time spent face to face with students actually learning.

I am not omniscient and know my views should not always be seen as correct.  I make mistakes and am wrong about plenty of things.   My station in life has taught me listen to help avoid this whenever possible.  I also know decision makers are far too confident in their own actions and don't listen enough.   I don't always like what I hear but the only way a not so smart individual like myself can navigate this landscape is to try and find some humor in it all.   Oh...and read a bunch.

Videos are also good.

Reasons vary as to why people look to misguided interlopers rather than trusted and seasoned professionals. 

So here are some things I liked that made me both smarterer and also smile.

The Disaster Capitalism Curriculum: The High Price of Education Reform (Episode I)

The Education Bubble

The Funny Business of Education

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