To Shades: The Speech the Graduates Didn't Hear

  • Posted: 01 July 2001 03:49 PM

    I’ve tried this on another forum and got a minor flame.
    I will try it here. It is in response to a comment that Shades made:

    [As a side note. I have taught at the college and post graduate level for 15 years (not full time). I too am appalled at the (lack of) grammar and the ability to express oneself, even at the postgraduate level. Had I used for 9th grade English class some of the papers I graded in post-graduate school, I wouldn’t have made it out of the 9th grade!]

    Shades, I now direct you to “The Speech the Graduates Didn’t Hear” which begins thusly:

    We the faculty take no pride in our educational achievements with you. We have prepared you for a world that does not exist, indeed, that cannot exist….

    ...when you were boring, we acted as if you were saying something important.  When you were garrulous and talked to hear yourself talk, we listened as if it mattered. When you tossed on our desks writing upon which you had not labored, we read it and even responded, as though you earned a response. When you were dull, we pretended you were smart. When you were predictable, unimaginative, and routine, we listened as if to new and wonderful things. When you demanded free lunch, we served it.


    _________________
    “Free your mind & your butt will follow…”

    Rodney O. Lain
    Mac Observer Columnist, iBrotha’s page at TMO

    iBrotha.com, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: iBrotha on 2001-06-30 22:23 ]</font>

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  • Posted: 30 June 2001 07:57 PM #1

    Thanks, Rodney. I had seen the link on the other site, but never followed up with it. (Two abscessed teeth and a kidney stone tend to demand attention! )

    Sometimes the truth hurts. I would say that Jacob, a rather distinguished author and scholar in his own right, had nailed it.

    For reflection on that piece, a couple of reminisces.

    1. I served 9+ years in the military. As a junior officer I was required to write quarterly reports on each person in the division. Most officers spent 10 minutes putting something down on paper so that the one paragraph minimum was met. I couldn’t get by with that. My superior officer would hand it back to me to re-write, sometimes as many as five times. While I initially couldn’t understand his persistence, I learned quickly how well such diligence served me.

    2. For officers to be promoted in the early mid 1970’s it was mandatory that you rank in the upper 1% of all officers. It was comical - a mark of being in the “upper 10%” was a sure sign of being passed over for promotion, and then discharged. In other words “upper 1%” became the “average” - better the “average” became “upper 1%.” Idiotic to say the least.

    The unrealistic expectations (often translated into demands) of students is well noted.  I have taught math and theology at the college level and theology at the graduate level. I was concerned about all of those points Neusner made. With much “fear and trembling” (and prayer!) I helped start a Bible College last year. I demand that students learn to think for themselves. My first encounter with the students is to remind them that the value of learning is up to them and how much they are willing to work. It takes a few weeks before they realize that I am serious. To be a Christian does not mean that we close our eyes/ears to what challenges the faith, or rely on what someone else wrote/said. I won’t be there to hold their hands as they face the real world. [Interesting that Neusner has written a little on the theological plane.] My goal is to poke, prod, and challenge them in new ways. But learning, growing, and changing - well, that’s where they have to take responsibility. But I set the expectations, not the students, not in a demanding way, but to set the tone for future work as Christian students and hopefully one day scholars.

    Thanks, Rodney, for encouraging me to look at the site.

    [As a side note, I hope that you won’t totally give up on writing for the Mac envirnoment. We need your voice.]

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    Posted: 01 July 2001 12:40 AM #2

    Wow, what a great speech Rodney!  Thanks for posting it, and thanks for providing the link here. That speaks to so many things that ring true with me…

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    Editor - The Mac Observer

    Favorite (but less relevant than it used to be) Quote: Microsoft’s tyranny lies not in its success, but in the way it achieved and maintains that success.

         
  • Posted: 01 July 2001 03:48 PM #3

    On 2001-06-30 22:57, shades wrote:
    Thanks, Rodney. I had seen the link on the other site, but never followed up with it. (Two abscessed teeth and a kidney stone tend to demand attention! )

    Thanks, Rodney, for encouraging me to look at the site.


    My pleasure. One of my pet peeves is self-imposed ignorance. You can imagine that I stay peeved

    (As a side note, I hope that you won’t totally give up on writing for the Mac envirnoment. We need your voice.

    The decision to keep writing on the Mac web is a decision that I question on a fairly regular basis. I’ve seen writers come and go just in the 2-3 years I’ve been on the scene. I know a few who don’t write anymore after being disillusioned with the readers. In many ways, they need Jacob Neusner’s speech as well.

    I’ll keep writing as long as I sense that I have readers who are willing to think—and are willing to let me keep doing the same in my writings.

    Peace.

     

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    “Free yo mind & yo ass will follow…”George Clinton
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  • Posted: 01 July 2001 03:49 PM #4

    On 2001-07-01 03:40, Bryan wrote:
    Wow, what a great speech Rodney!  Thanks for posting it, and thanks for providing the link here. That speaks to so many things that ring true with me…

    I feel sorry for my future kids. If nothing else, they will know how to think… and they will be Mac snobs, just like their old man…

     

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    “Free yo mind & yo ass will follow…”George Clinton
    peep my iBookiBrotha.comfor the ladies...