When I was a kid, I used to pick on a kid smaller than me and it really made him upset. A few years went by and I kept picking on him and one day he finally got tired and started to hit me, and, well, you know, I started to hit him back. We got in trouble, but you know I learned something that day that changed my life: everyone wants to be treated the same. Another time, when I was a little bit older, there was this kid who never had any friends and everyone called him names, pushed him down, and hit him; however, there was this one older boy and he and his friends picked on him the worst. This bully would push him down, call him ugly names, knock his books down, and randomly punch him. One day I saw them doing the same thing over and over again: knocking this poor kid’s books out of his hands, and I finally said, “Enough is enough!” I went over to pick up his books and said to the older boys,” Hey you need to stop picking on him.” Then they said” What are you going to
I have learned a lot of things in my life and had a lot of experiences but I’d have to say the most important thing I’ve learned is show respect. There are many stories I could tell about of how I’ve messed up by my lack of respect, but one I will always remember. When I was younger, I and my dad were going to the pool but he got angry at me and I showed horrible disrespect and it turned into a whole fight. I was crying like crazy and I ran away to my cousin’s house next door. They were worried and shocked when they saw me. Me being the disrespectful one, I lied to them and told them my dad was hurting me when he was really just trying to teach me right and hold me down. My dad found me and told them everything and they definitely agreed with him. We went to the pool anyway and took my cousin with us. The whole time I just wanted to cry. I felt so horrible and embarrassed by myself and what I did. We finally got home and my dad told me to stay in the car
It was Bill Geer who launched me on my “life of unlearning.” In fact, Professor Geer (as we insisted upon calling him no matter how often he said ‘call me Bill’), challenged us to live just such a life, taking the term from Lincoln Steffens’ essay. It was, he would bellow from the front of the class room, “a damn shame that so many smart young people come to this great University just to convince themselves that what they already know is all they need to know.” Disabusing us of such nonsense and getting us to think for ourselves was a mission he set himself to with great relish, and I was lucky to have stumbled upon him as a professor. I met Bill Geer at a pre-college camp sponsored by the campus YW/MCA. He was one of a number of lecturers and speakers that came that long weekend to try to get us to think about what college held in store; we were more interested in finding our first dates for the football home opener. To this day he is the only thing I really remember about the camp. On a clear evening he held forth about the so-called
In 9th grade my English teacher would say to us, “PEOPLE, we are going to begin an essay today.” At first I thought it was a mistake. People? Really? But again and again she referred to us with a word that meant to me respect, acceptance and relevance. We were important to her, we were important in the classroom, we were important period. It completely changed how I viewed myself, what I might be capable of, and gave me confidence to find my voice in a subject that was never going to be my best, I wanted to do my best, to rise to the occasion; it propelled me forward. It was clearly one of the best learning experiences I ever had. Personal note: from a rather rural district high school in Canada, I went on to the University of Toronto, and acquired a Masters of Science degree.
I was educated in England and best remember my High School English teacher, a woman who inspired through enthusiasm. She was in love with language and literature, and her unfailing, bouncing enthusiasm and permanent grin enthused us all.There were no non-participants in that class – the boys at the back of the class sat up, listened, read the texts, and contributed their ideas. Every class was a lively discussion. No ideas were ‘wrong’, but we were challenged (by both our peers and our teacher), and we did need to be able to explain and justify them. We could challenge our teacher too; we could question what she was saying, and decide for ourselves what we believed. One idea sparked more, and more… everything was interesting…we wanted to learn, we wanted to discuss, we wanted to write papers! Our exam results were outstanding, but what really mattered was that we had learned to think, analyse, and discuss, and we had developed a love of learning that would last a lifetime. The key to learning therefore is enthusiasm combined with high expectations. I firmly believe that when high expectations are placed upon children, they rise to meet them. Years later I moved
Perhaps the most significant, life-determining learning experience happened in the eleventh grade in Mrs. Eli’s class in my West Texas hometown high school named San Angelo Central High School. I remember the first day of the school year in her class. At first–in the brief moments before class was to start–it seemed like any other eleventh-grade class. That is, pretty normal. Then Mrs. Eli came stomping into the classroom angrily, did a quick visual survey, and commented that we were not the class of students that she had expected. “I always teach honors!” she exclaimed. She then stomped back out of the classroom while mumbling something loudly about having to leave in order to go and talk to the principal about straightening this matter out. Perhaps we were not supposed to take her attitude toward us personally since the “problem” was that there was a bureaucratic mix up. Regardless, the chill in the air that she left behind was palpable. Humiliated, we all gazed at each other through the corners of our eyes and we shrunk in our chairs. I attended a large, comprehensive high school and so I knew only a handful of the students in the class. It