EDM 310 Class Blog

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lessons from a Silly man

I have many soap-boxes, but I tend not to step on them and speak. I tend to keep my mouth shut, silent but screaming in frustration on the inside. I decided today that I would step up and say something and then go back to my business. I will quote lessons I learned from the silliest man I know. And no, it's not Dr. Strange! It's a different Dr...Dr. Seuss.

"You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose!"
My First Order of Business: Apathy
The name of the blame game is half-assery. Doing something only partially well or at all just to say that it has been done, to receive your mark, to go on to the next thing. No actual thought or mental exercise has been performed. No accomplishment has been made. You simply followed the instructions and did what you were told. I have been guilty of this myself, we have all been guilty of this. But the consequences are disastrous. Yes, it's not as taxing. It's not as time consuming. But think about all the gears in your brain that are collecting dust? I have never met a person that I would ever classify as "incapable".  Dr. Seuss taught me that. We have the brains, we have the ability; we can choose which path we take. We can do more than is asked of us, more than is expected of us, more than is needed of us. We can impress, not others, but ourselves, with how well we exceed our duties and complete our chores. Every time I am tempted to only do things half-way, I confront this inclination with the remembrance that to do nothing, to do little, is always a choice. It may seem a small one, but if it becomes a habit, it can control your actions.

"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple"
Another concern: Critical Thinking
What happens when we dwell in the land of Apathy too long? We lose not our ability, but our tendency , toward critical thinking. It's not as if we just forget how or we can't anymore, we become all too comfortable and familiar with taking the easy way out. Instead of being driven by curiosity and intellectual zealousness, we don't puzzle and we don't ponder- we just move along.
It's important to maintain a level of curiosity, to want to know the answers or to want to know the questions no matter what it takes. Even if it makes your brain hurt, what matters is that you don't just move past it.
"You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut"
As a Lab Assistant for EDM310, I have read a great deal of posts that do little more than summarize. What I challenge the students of EDM310 to do is to wear many different hats:
1. Be patient: Mull it over
"Think and wonder, wonder and think"
2. Be a pioneer: Ask the question,"Is there anything "new" I can bring to this?"
"It's opener, out there, in the wide, open air"
3. Be Curious George: If something interests you, go research it. Don't write about how technology facilitates research of facts and data and interesting things and forget to take advantage of them!
"The more things you read, the more things you'll know. The more that you know, the more places you'll go!"
4. Be different: Engage your creative side
"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere"
5. Be a Writer: Think about things like irony, satire, sarcasm, context, humor, clarity, word choice, grammar...
6. Be a critic: Consider what you just watched or read, what your assignment is, and tell us how this can be improved.
7. Be bold: Write and complete your assignments to be remembered, not just to get it done!
"Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be remembered!"
8. Be you: Personal experience and opinion is good!
"Be who you are and say what you mean, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind"

"Step with care and great tact, and remember, life's a great balancing act"
I don't think I'm being totally unrealistic. I don't think any of this is too much to ask. Dr. Seuss wrote his books for children, as well as adults. If you're going to be a teacher, you can't teach Dr. Seuss if you aren't willing to give his words of encouragement and inspiration a "go". To teach is to lead, and to lead is to set an example. Life is a balancing act, but the tact and care is in the details. The more we pay attention, the more we step carefully, the more we are on guard against apathy and make pre-emptive strikes, the greater the act. It's no longer bad juggling, it's a gravity-defying performance. You go from being a "clown" to an "artist".

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, it's not going to get better, it's not"
I hate writing with cliches. I hate appealing to the reader's conscience for an intended result. But I do believe that this is pretty important, so listen up. You probably know by now that as a teacher, you are going to be the only love and encouragement that some students see. You will be the one great example that brings them to the good side. Just imagine, if now, when what is placed before you is a plate to juggle and you drop it, what's gonna happen when you have three or four to juggle? Don't wait until you are a teacher to start setting an example, working hard, and being a thinker; any day is a good day to start. I know it's cliche to say that as a teacher, you are given the responsibility of making a difference, but it's true. Until you start caring an awful lot, nothing's going to change.
Caring leads to action, action causes reaction, chain reactions finally equal change.
To become even more trite and cliche, my grandma likes to correct me when I grumble and say that "caring is contagious, and so is whining".  I think she means that people react according to their environment. Don't be a part of the system of grumbling and whining that I sometimes fall into.

"Oh, the things you can find, if you don't stay behind!"
How does one ever expect to get ahead if you stay behind? Plan ahead. Make time. Don't procrastinate. Easy enough? Wrong. The thing I noticed about EDM310 when I took the class was that it is impossible for me to do my assignments on technology and not get caught up in it. It's a time warp. There's so much to click on and so many shiny things! Curiosity is great, but it was my worst enemy. My other classes fell behind because I got so excited about all the videos and Twitter and SMARTBoards and I couldn't get to a stopping point.
For those of you with the opposite problem, if you struggle with procrastination, I have found that I just have to lie to myself. I have to convince myself that I'm going to be entertained by doing my homework and find a way to stay engaged. If you believe that eventually you're going to find something riveting, it's a lot easier to press on than if you believe you're only going to want to jump off a building.

With all of this being said, I guess you can see that:
"You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who will decide where to go.."


  1. Welcome to the wonderful world of caring more than your students ;) I really like half-assery as a a phrase, perhaps you could write a Dr. Seuss style story with using it. That would be awesome!

  2. Just saw your comment! I appreciate the feedback :) Maybe I could write one but I don't think I could include half-assery. But it's not licensed or anything, so feel free to use it at your own risk!