Sunday, March 3, 2013
Blog Post #7
Randy Pausch The Last Lecture
The shorthand I took for the instructions for this blog post: identify and comment on teaching methods, discuss all of the things he discusses that you can use in teaching, but don't just retell what he says, identify: teaching and learning, summary and my reactions. I do not know if my blog post will satisfy these instructions because I believe the notes I took and the impressions I have are more related to life than just what I would use in a classroom. This will probably be the most hodge-podge post I have made.
Pausch outlines his lecture as Really Achieving Your Dreams, Enabling the Dreams of Others, and Lessons Learned. Pausch's childhood dreams included experiencing zero gravity, playing professional football, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia, being Captain Kirk, and becoming an Imagineer for Disney. Through football he learned that when you are screwing up and no one is saying anything anymore, it means they have given up on you. I am still letting this statement soak in. In evaluating this statement, I have put myself in both positions. I hope that people will still speak up when I need it. I also hope I will have the courage to speak into others' lives when they need it most.
In Pausch's experience as an Imagineer, he heard the statement, "Wait and people will surprise you." I don't know that I have the patience to apply that to everyone I know, but, oh, how I want everyone I know to extend that attitude toward me. It is amazing how I do not give as readily as I like to receive. So, moving forward, how long will I wait in order to be surprised? I also like Pausch's two examples of how to say, "I don't know." It can be done pridefully and defensively, or calmly and with honesty, humility, and control.
In the next point of Pausch's lecture, Enabling Others' Childhood Dreams-become a professor, I definitely connected with the bigger picture of becoming a teacher. My childhood dream was played out in my bedroom with my blue chalkboard. Chalkboards may be obsolete by the time I am a teacher, but I greatly want one just for my own personal satisfaction. To think that once I achieve a degree, I will than have the ability to steer others into pursuing their childhood dreams in the making gives me the mental image of a rock thrown into a pond and the ripple effect. I hope to spur children on to go further than I will and further than they ever thought they would. More than a classroom, I hope this for my own children. Through Pausch's class about building virtual worlds, he learned to raise the bar even though the students did well to begin with. I think the bar needs to be raised when they don't do so well either because students must have something to strive for. As Pausch was nearing the end of his life, he made the decision to find someone better than himself to hand over his work. I see the importance of finding a mentor and always look for someone who is better than me to go to.
I like Pausch's quote, "The best gift an educator can give someone is the ability to be self-reflective." I know this class has that approach and I am trying to honestly evaluate my work or else I will not be doing myself a service. Pausch also defines the "head fake": have fun while learning something hard. That is exactly the mindset I have when I envision teaching math.
For Lessons Learned, I wrote down a lot of points that stood out. The contents in the parentheses are my reactions. Help others (I am only helpful sometimes). Never give up (I am a natural quitter). Tell the truth (In the South, politeness can trump honesty). Apologize (That's easy). Focus on others, not yourself (That's hard). Don't complain, work harder (The other option would be to quit). Be good at something: it makes you valuable (Believe it and search for the talent).
Pausch ends the lecture by informing the audience that there are two head fakes in his speech. The first one is that this wasn't really about achieving your childhood dreams. It is about how to lead your life. (I knew it!) And the second, "This talk wasn't for you. It was for my kids." I have no doubt his children have been listening.