Gratitude from A to Z: Education

                                              Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

 

I am grateful for my education. For the transformative teachers I've had - Mrs. Baxter, Mrs. Morrison and Mrs. Raymond in elementary school - Mr. Chan, Mr. Tomita and Miss Morrison in high school - Joe Cunsolo, Larry Peterson, John Proctor, Herm Tiessen and Jim Tsujita in university. My graduate supervisor Glen Lumis who taught me how to think beyond the boundaries of knowledge. My career-long mentor Jack Eggens who generously shared his passion for teaching and observation-based, non-judgemental method of problem solving. 

Every teacher I've encountered had an impact on my life and I am grateful for each of them. Having stood at the front of the classroom for most of my career, I appreciate the effort that goes into preparing for class each day. It is much harder than it looks and I wish I'd appreciated my teachers more when I was sitting at the back of the class. 

Our education system was originally designed for socialization and to manufacture workers. What we consider work is undergoing a radical transformation and we need to reassess how we educate our children and ourselves. We don't need an education system that produces graduates conforming to a set standard. We need to design a system that reflects the challenges we face as a society and develops passionate, self directed citizens who have the confidence and skills to learn and think passionately and creatively. 

Computers, the Internet and social media provide us with incredible resources at our fingertip but also makes us intellectually lazy and subjects our thoughts and opinions to manipulation by those who seek or hold power. We are losing our ability to read beyond a screen's worth of information. Fear, anger and hatred stifle empathetic thought. 

The great teachers I had did much more than transfer facts from their brain to mine. They shared a passion that instilled an emotional change in how I think and view the world. They lit a flame that continues to burn. They gave me the skills and confidence to deal with the things in life they don't teach in school, which is just about everything. 

I am grateful for the education I have received, grateful for my teachers and grateful for the opportunity to share what I have learned with others.

4 comments

  • Krys

    Krys St Marys

    It's sad that without experience as a teacher so few people understand the effort and importance of good teaching. It's sadder that our education system has turned into a widget maker instead of a brain developer. But then who in the world wants a population that can think??!??!

    It's sad that without experience as a teacher so few people understand the effort and importance of good teaching. It's sadder that our education system has turned into a widget maker instead of a brain developer. But then who in the world wants a population that can think??!??!

  • Rob Witherspoon

    Rob Witherspoon Waterloo

    Thanks for the comment Krys. There is a great quote from Isaac Asimov I saw recently that relates to this: “The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    Thanks for the comment Krys. There is a great quote from Isaac Asimov I saw recently that relates to this:
    “The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

  • Krys

    Krys St Marys

    That is truly sad - as we can see here and south of the border. If only we could change that to 'my money or lack thereof is just as good as yours!" Does that sounds tight? I know what I mean; not sure anyone else will lol

    That is truly sad - as we can see here and south of the border. If only we could change that to 'my money or lack thereof is just as good as yours!" Does that sounds tight? I know what I mean; not sure anyone else will lol

  • Rob Witherspoon

    Rob Witherspoon

    I don't think we will ever realize the true cost of our obsession with the accumulation of wealth.

    I don't think we will ever realize the true cost of our obsession with the accumulation of wealth.

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