The end of this class should become a springboard for the rest of our careers and life-long learning. We have to remember that in a culture of performance mandates and standardization, compounded by conformity, we have the potential to take back education from the jaws of schooling. If we look to the short-term in order to achieve results, rather than taking time and asking the deeper questions, we may miss out on our greater potential:
We, as a society, need to stop stealing the dreams of others as a method of protecting our systems of convenience. Recall Peter Higgs and his perception of the academic climate today. What if he was never given the chance to explore purely on the basis that he did not “produce”. Not everyone and everything is an assembly line to be tweaked into perfection.
This concept of conformity and interchangeability in people is alarming. To say that an individual can be replaced with another as simply as a machined part can be replaced is a simplistic view of humanity. We may be similar to each other, but we are all different in one way or another. (Well then if everyone is unique and different then everyone is actually the same. So HA Ken.) Sure fine, but place two people in the same job and ask the same things of them. There will be different results.
We have the responsibility to foster the potential in others. To remain a third party “professional” scholar will work, but not to the fullest. This potential in others is fostered through trust and developing relationships, that learning and teaching contains emotions, while schooling is divorcing the individual from the learning process.
We need to have an ever evolving thesis to our careers and lives. This can be simple without being simplistic. For example my “thesis” is more of a life question:
How can I balance my personal life with my academic life?
The question is simple, but the processes, methods, and answers are much more complicated. There are even the goals to be achieved, that I can set my own desires and limitations. I constantly revisit this question and re-evaluate my stance on what is important to me, and where my desires exist. I was talking with a colleague about the inherent difference in languages and how these can reflect the culture tied to the language. In French, much of what is desire, is in the subjunctive tense of verbs, however “hopes” are treated as reality. The culture deems dreams and hopes a reality, not merely a possibility.
I have had, have and will have hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, one by one I gave up on them on my way to becoming my present self, in the favor of following others. This is not good or bad, it just is. I make the best decisions I can with the information I have at the time. I can make the most of my future by not becoming jaded in my “expertise”, learn from students, and reflect on the knowledge of mentors. There is one important thing I have found in college, that has helped be immensely in my life, and what I will continue to use to move forward is this:
Keep your heart on your sleeve; with time this will be a far greater armor than any steel.
[thanks for listening]