Not the most auspicious start to a blog but, as I’ve been grading papers for the past day or so it seems appropriate. This has been a good semester in that I’ve had very few incidents of it, but, the ones I’ve had, I shouldn’t have. They were because of laziness. Students who simply didn’t bother to cite because they didn’t care or didn’t take the time to write their own work because they didn’t want to be bothered. The funny thing is, in the latter case, if they wrote something, even something short and “eh” they would get some credit, granted, not much, but some. But by cheating they get no credit and, instead, a lot of grief. But they still don’t care. It doesn’t really seem to faze them.
I don’t understand either perspective but I’d like to do so. I think that some of our students, and I don’t mean those just as my school but many in the higher ed system today, are there because they feel they have to be. A college education is no longer an option in most fields. It is the high school diploma of the twenty-first century. (The Masters is looming as the next.) Inflationary education.
Unfortunately, I don’t think our collective attitudes about education or intellectualism have caught up. We still put the emphasis on athletics in K-12 and we still make fun of geeks and nerds. We still under-pay and under-value educators and we vastly under-fund our education system. I’m still scrounging copies of Mice and Men for my son’s 10th grade class because the school can’t afford to buy them. What kind of message does this send to our kids? What are we teaching them along with their three R’s? We’re certainly not passing along a lesson that we value education, so why should they then be ecstatic about getting into debt to spend four years pursuing a degree? We get caught up in test scores and objective evaluation of how well we are educating them to take those tests and forget to help them learn how to learn. So, why should they care. The quickest way to get things done seems to be a reasonable choice given that attitude. Do just enough to meet the minimum.
The two greatest words in education as far as I’m concerned… Intellectual Curiousity.