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It’s Not the Education, It’s the Educator Stupid!

March 23, 2008

On my flight home from Minneapolis to Denver I decided to pull out my laptop and spool up the director Michael Hoffman’s commentary for The Emperor’s Club. Haven’t seen it? You can find a synopsis in the link.

I first saw this movie on an airplane and was intrigued as it was the only thing on. Since then, I’ve caught it on TV a few times and a few weeks ago broke down and bought it using a Best Buy Reward Zone certificate. Having watched it a few times, I am reminded of just how much I enjoy the movie. I’m not so sure why…I’m definitely no student of the classical period and have lived a life about as far away from private school as possible. At one point during his commentary, Hoffman elaborates on how many educators who see the movie love it because it represents many of the challenges and successes teachers face in their careers. When I heard that, I immediately understood that those same reasons were why I love the movie too.  This realization and understanding played itself out even more over the next day as I returned to my old high school to catch up with some of my old teachers.

I’ve always had some quirk of personality that has allowed me to develop a rapport with my teachers and professors both in-and-out of the classroom, beginning at a very young age by falling in love with one of my first preschool teachers (so the story goes, at least according to my parents). Since then I have been blessed with an amazing array of teachers in many disciplines that have given their knowledge and, more importantly, passion to their students.

As a rather opinionated experiential learner, my belief is that life isn’t complete until one experiences as much as possible before it is their time to move on in the world. In essence, we are an empty pitcher waiting to be filled with water. Sometimes we fill the water ourselves, but more often than not someone else provides the water for us. As I look back at my own pitcher, I see just how much water some of my former teachers have filled my own pitcher of experience. While I certainly didn’t notice it at the time, I can’t believe how much of an appreciation and passion for education they have given me.

This has been a realization I needed to have for a long time. It’s been slow in coming and I don’t think I’m all the way there yet. As I continue to steam full gauge ahead in trying to finish up my thesis (the process is getting better, slowly!) and begin grad school, I can only guess that the feeling of passion for education will be the thing that underneath it all really keeps me going.

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