Mediocrity + Complacency = Success??

Posted: January 5, 2014 in Life, Teaching
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s snowy and icy up here in the Northeast/Philly Area.  I went out for my Wawa coffee this morning and could not get my car back up the HUGE hill that I live on.  For now, it’s chillin’ at the bottom.  Dedicated for my morning coffee….that’s me 🙂

Speaking of dedication – I’d like to take a moment and reflect on this concept.

I recently read an OP/ED piece from The Washington Post Online about teaching and the dedication that many teachers have.  The title of the article is called, “I would love to teach but…”  If you have a moment – read it.  It’s long but it’s totally worth it.  The basic gist is that teachers are no longer allowed to teach anymore…and conversely, students aren’t willing to try….in turn….parents want their kids to receive a grade without the effort put in.  The whole concept boils down to the idea that “we can’t let these kids fail”.  Why not?  WHY NOT?!

Just to give some perspective about failure:

And yes, I am familiar with the concept of giving students the opportunity to improve – jesus, that’s all I want!  I want them to TRY.  I want them to WANT to succeed.  I want to help them build an innate desire to be the best they can be.  So many questions – in my mind – rise from this:  Why should I put the effort in for them if they don’t put the effort in for me?  Why do I even bother?  What is the point?  To these questions and many more – the simple reason is – I CARE.  And I care about the outcome of the youth of today.

So if we’re allowing them to learn mediocrity and teaching them that even if they don’t turn in a paper or don’t do their work they will still pass….we are basically teaching them that the real world is like this too.  W. T. F.  It’s not.

Listen.  I am not a pessimist.  In fact, my friend Paul would tell you that I am fortunate to not have experienced the worst of the worst.  And yet, even amongst some of the best students and smartest in many schools I’ve taught in – this concept of getting something for nothing still exists.

In case I’ve lost you – I do have a point to all of this……

If I were apply this same idea of mediocrity and complacency when it came to my desire to improve my well-being (i.e. my athletic ability and/or my body in general), would this work?  Everyone knows the answer is No.

You do not get six-pack abs by eating nachos, fries, and a variety of other unhealthy foods.  You do not get a toned body by sitting on the couch all day and maybe getting up to go to fridge/bathroom/etc.  You do not get a longer-life span* by willing it to happen.  And you sure as hell don’t get a perfect body(relatively speaking) without hard work.

All my life – I’ve struggled to maintain my body.  Some friends and family know the details behind that but in truth – I didn’t get ANYTHING without working for it.  I attribute my dedication and hard work to the lessons I learned in school.  If I wanted an A – I had to work for it.  If I got a B or a C or even, yes, a D….I NEVER ONCE got angry with my teacher.  How is what I did or didn’t do, my teachers fault?  I was the one taking the tests; I was the one writing the papers; I was the one studying or not studying; I was the one who did a half-assed job.  How was that my teachers fault?

And when you read these  inspiring quotes – do they only apply to education?  THEY APPLY TO EVERYTHING.

I feel as though many people are missing the concept of what real education is for.  Yes.  I love to teach Shakespeare (Billy is my man!), Chaucer, Steinbeck, Emerson, Thoreau, etc…..and I love to teach the concepts behind their writing.  But my main goal – right now – as a teacher – and I think always will be – is to teach kids to work hard, try, do their best, be kind, and take a moment to realize that they are in training for the rest of their lives.

I feel this way EVERY DAY when I run, swim, bike, do yoga, crossfit, or whatever other activity I get in to.  I am not training for tomorrow….or just for the series of races I’ve signed up for.  I am training to STAY healthy.  I am training to BE healthy.  I am training to BE successful.

I can only hope I am teaching my students the same thing.

  1. Love the article you sound like a passionate teacher. Hope you can instill your positive ideas into your students.

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