Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From the Editor’s Desk

Pin It I hadn’t planned on composing a blog post at 4 in the morning; I thought I’d be sleeping. For some reason, my body just wouldn’t seem to agree with me in this regard, and I found myself awake while most of the state was still sleeping.

So instead of slumbering, I composed a message for my class website Thought of the Month.

I know, kind of a poor excuse to call a post, but what can I say? I’m a double-dipper…

From the Editor’s Desk
Mr. Zimmerman

How much to you put into your own education? I mean, how much effort do you really put into school?

When I was a kid, I was under the mistaken belief that it was the responsibility of my teacher to make sure that I learned. My job—I thought—was to go to school, sit in my desk, daydream, turn in homework that I did a halfhearted job on, and complain from time to time about just how much I hated homework and school.

You know the years have flown since I was in elementary school, and I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t really my teacher’s job to make sure that I learned.

It was mine.

No matter what I thought, my teacher wasn’t affected by whether or not I paid attention in class. If I learned it, I learned it. If I didn’t, my teachers didn’t go home having their lives changed for the better or the worse. It was my life that was affected.

The reason that I bring this up is that there seems to be an increasing number of students who seem to think that it is the job of their teacher to make sure they learn while they are at school. I’m here to tell you that this is simply not true. Now, I’m not saying that a teacher shouldn’t be prepared, because they should be, what I am saying is that the job of learning is yours.

There’s an old saying which goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.” Have you ever heard somebody say that before? Maybe your parents or grandparents? Do you understand what it means? When I was a kid, I sure didn’t. What the heck did drinking horses have to do with me?

To be honest? Everything.

You see, a horse will only drink when he is ready to. You can take him to the water trough, you can even try to force his head into the water, but until he is ready to take that drink, it just won’t happen.

In a lot of ways you are just like that horse; you cannot be forced to learn…you have to decide that you want to learn. Then—and only then—will the learning really happen for you; it won’t happen until you make the decision for yourself.

You know that it all comes down to one person…


After all, you all know that if you really wanted to, you could space off in class, and not pay attention in the slightest. Right? But who does this hurt in the end…really?

Just one person: You.

If the learning of the content doesn’t happen, whose fault is it? Is it the fault of your teachers? Is it your parents’ fault for not making you do your homework; for forcing you to read at night?

Now, when I was a kid I might have disagreed and said that it was my teachers’ fault; I’d have probably argued that if only Mr. Miller were a bit more interesting then I’d have learned what he was trying to teach. But really, let’s be honest here…was I coming to school to be entertained, or to be taught? Sure, it’s great when these two things happen together, but when they don’t can I really blame the teacher?
The truthful answer is:

“No. No I can’t.”

So now it comes down to you…what kind of effort are you going to put into your own education?

I mean, really?

When you stop to think about it, when you try to get out of things in school or find shortcuts in life, in the end you are just cheating yourself. You may not understand how this can hurt you right now, but one day you will.

So, what happens now? To be honest, I don’t know. It really depends an awful lot on you now doesn’t it? I would hope from this day on that you’d to put a little bit more into your own learning each and every day; after all, it affects you more than anyone else.

You know what though? Despite everything else, there is one enormous reason for putting more into school each and every day. So, what’s the reason?

YOU are worth the effort; give yourself your personal best.


Mamma has spoken said...

Total agreement here. When I first started out teaching, I had a parent say in a conference that she doesnt' sit and watch/make her child do their homework. Instead she told them that she had already went to school and passed (insert grade here). I found this statement insightful and have embraced it with my own sons. Yes I am there to help them if it is needed. But in the end, it is their responsibility to do the work, not mine. They are the ones who had to pay the concequences of not doing their work, not me. Sorta unconventional thinking but it has worked. All my sons were in the top % of their class and were/are successful in college.

mywest said...

Teachers and Parents are diamonds in the ruff.. Teachers have a diploma or certificate showing they have successfully completed all the requirements to become a teacher. Some become more polished throughout the years of teaching and have made a difference in the world. It would be nice if Parents had the same requirements.. yes some have had great roll models of pasted loved ones or successful parents. A child needs the love and support of parents who want their children to be successful in life. Without the support at home the child has a harder time in life. I'm thankful my parents stayed on top of me didn't let me slide.
To have support of parents but also feeling the support of teachers I personally believe is the best for a successful child.
But its true all you can do is lead and do what you can as a teacher but if the child won't drink up the knowledge offered and there isn't supportive parents then what can you do. You can move on to another who will drink.
Your a great teacher... same as the teachers who follow your blog.. Your all diamonds!

Lydia said...

I agree fully. As a parent I can want a lot of things for my kids but if I do there homework so it looks great they just learn that mommy will do my homework if I don't try you may have noticed this with my "Joey's" homework. How ever it looks it is his work.

Meg said...

I hope I can teach Gage that he needs to be proactive with his school work.

School was really easy for me. So I never really needed my parents help or much of my teachers. my brother on the otherhand could have used this advice. He thought it was everyone elses fault that he couldn't do anything. He never tried and that was the problem.

A Lark said...

You know, this applies to the gospel and church, too... (:

sammisue said...

AGREED i mean whos fault is it really? and i was just like you too i thought it was the teachers job but i had to put efort into too. but that wasnt a problem in your class it kept my attention.

Shosh said...

I couldn't agree more! I have thought about that lately, and I thank you for puting my thoughts into word. Fantastic!

jayniemoon said...

Such great advice! Something we could all still use--even now about enjoying life NOW.

I'm also sorry you were up at 4 a.m.

Gerb said...

I hope the kids take your words to heart. It's a good lesson to learn early on.

p.s. I hope you get to sleep earlier than 4:00 am this time around... that had to have made for a killer day in the classroom.

K.J. said...

I love this post! I think you need to forward this post in an email to Trevor! Lately, I feel like he is getting lazy with his school stuff. You hear a lot of...this teacher is like this, or this teacher just does this...I think these teenagers really need this post posted across the top of their heads...they couldn't read it unless it was backwards. That way they could read it everytime they looked in the mirror!

annette said...

Red Pepper shared this with me tonight, along with her journal response. You echo my sentiments exactly AND found a way to put it into "kid language" so RP got it too! WAY2GO!

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