Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Actually," (our teacher) said one morning, "all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you an education.
"What you receive is like the outlines in a child's coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.
"I hope, in these classes, to give you an idea of where you came from, how you got here, and what has been said about it."
Quote from: The Lonesome Gods by Louis L'Amour

   While I was living in Blanding, Utah I was looking for work. I interviewed for a job in Moab as a river guide for a rafting company. They put me in a tour group and one of the guides was showing me the ropes so to speak. It's interesting to note, that I could have become a guide after only one or two trips down the river. Also interesting to note is that guides are right there in the same boat as the guided going towards the same rapids. The difference is they have been there before and know how to attack them and what to expect. Just as I had someone guiding me, I was to turn around and guide others. I ended up not taking the job, but the point is hopefully made. You never see a guide shouting at you from the bank directions and points of interest. They are right there beside you on your journey. We as teachers and parents should be right there beside our children taking their journey with them. We've been down the river before, that's what qualifies us for the work. The rapids may be a little different or the angle from which we attack them might have changed, but we are in a good position to guide our youth just by being willing and excited. Nobody wants a boring guide, right? 

   We can't treat education like it's something we can endow on a child. Like a door prize for showing up at school. And it's not a package deal we can go shopping around for. The child at some point has to want to learn. Far more important than finding a good curriculum, or a good school district, is finding out what inspires your child. They have to take charge of their own education, and the best way for them to do that is to be inspired. Reading is a great way to get children inspired. A classic book became a classic because many people found it inspiring. When we think of classics, we usually think of books like "Moby Dick" or "The Iliad" or something along those lines, but there are classics at all reading levels and for many different subjects. Silverstein's "The Giving Tree" for example is one that little kids can read, enjoy, and learn from. We also need to be inspiring to the children around us. They should see us striving to learn and reading along with them. Together the guide and the guided travel down the same river.

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