The more involved I get with schools the more I learn! My main thrust is to motivate and inspire students to use their natural and learned skills and talents in a productive way throughout their lives. That includes getting an education! I attended an AVID 3-school meeting this week at a middle school in town.
They had a panel of adults that testified to the benefits of getting a college education. They were very passionate and inspirational! They threw out lots of great ideas, one of them was branding. Be a “student first”, meaning focus on being a student rather than letting other people and things get in your way. I probably should have heard those things 50 years ago! And followed that advice!
The presenters and the school principals were like preachers; they were very excited about their message and it came through. The kids were excited too! I think the students learned a lot as did I! One observation I had, not a criticism, was that all of the presenters (maybe except one) worked in the field of education. They all had lots of advanced degrees such as MBA’s and PhD’s in their resumes and were obviously in love with education. Some were principals of the schools and others worked at the U of M in different fields. They all loved what they were doing!
I was concerned that indirectly they were promoting education as total solution to one’s lives and prosperity rather than promoting education as a means and necessity of making it anywhere in the world. This is a bias I have seen volunteering with various education programs that seek to reduce the achievement gap in society. They focus mainly on the education gap, not the life achievement gap. It is natural to do this in my opinion. If I were a presenter I would be tempted to inspire students to be in the finance business as I had success in that field myself. I borderline just tolerated school, but knew it was something I had to do in order to enter the business world. The part of school that I did like was hanging around the other students, athletics and other activities that were more fun. I had to learn to learn after college, probably racked up some wasted years thinking back. But to me, education was a means, not an end to success. I certainly do not fault teachers, they are working from their frame of reference; education.
The reason I wrote my book “ACHIEVERS” was to inspire students with stories of people who built solid careers in lots of different fields, and tie in reasons to get an education to inspire students to do similar things with their lives. It is great that students consider entering the field of education; we obviously need great educators like the ones I am meeting in the schools. But to kids like me, folks in the education field constantly talking about college and more and more education would have either lured me into the education field or totally turned me off to more education.
Therein lies the need for people in the world outside of education to get involved with young people. Yes, we will probably have our own bias, but if enough come forward and talk to kids and mentor them, I believe they will see the value of education in a world that is diverse in what we all do, and why we need education to be successful in anything we do.
We must close the life achievement gap, not just the education gap!