Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Assignment 7

The poster for Pausch's "The Last Lecture...Image via WikipediaI have viewed this YouTube video, the DVD, and read his book several times. I actually owned the book until recently. I even made my class watch this YouTube video last fall. I believe Randy Pausch’s story caught everyone’s attention because he was dying, but his message is amazing without that.
There are so many wonderful bits of information in this video. SO MANY! I think my favorite, or rather the one that affects me most as a teacher is “When you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore that means they gave up.” I think it is important to remind your students that what you are asking them to do is for their benefit, especially when it is something that is difficult. The best teachers I ever had were the ones most of us liked the least. It was not because of their personality that we disliked them, but because they made us work! One I remember most was my ninth grade English teacher, Ms. Foster. She made us copy the MLA grammar rules…all of them! Everyone hated her for this, but I scored the highest possible on the ACT the following year. Teachers who push their students will produce the best results as long as they give them the tools they need as well.

My first teaching job was for an alternative school. The students were 17-21 year old dropouts who had decided to come back and get their high school diploma, but they were too old to return to regular high schools. They had all of these notions of what they could not do. It was sad how many of them had no dreams beyond getting their diploma to get a low wage job. Of course, with most of them having children already, money was important, but it still broke my heart they had no substantial dreams. The bulk of his lecture is about achieving dreams and what we can learn while achieving them. It is hard to achieve a dream if you do not have one though. I am not sure what happened in their schools or homes so that they could no longer dream. How long had people been shattering their dreams?

I love that he remembers others. It seems in our society people often get caught up in our own needs and desires that it is easy to forget those around us. Fulfilling the dreams of others, or helping them fulfill them is a noble goal. As teachers perhaps this is something we work towards daily on a grand scheme. It is rare though to see the fruits of our labors when it comes to seeing a student’s long-term dreams achieved. However, focusing on seeing them accomplish short term goals are just as important and hopefully fulfilling. The only thing more important is encouraging their dreams and goals by giving them the tools they need to succeed regardless of changes to their dreams. Most often students will not see the value of what they are learning until much later in life, just as Dr. Pausch did not realize all he was learning from football as a child.

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  1. Lisianna,

    I agree with you this is a great video. Dr. Pausch is so inspiring. To have that kind of attitude while facing death is incredible. I loved what you said about the students who had lost their dreams. That was just so sad to me. But it is something that everybody needs to remember every day. That it is so easy to shatter someone's dreams and that people do not recover from that. Everybody needs to be able to have dreams.


  2. Hi, Lisiana!

    How Randy Pausch taught is just as important as how he led his life!

    - Allie