Life Lessons From the Mouth of an English Teacher
HEY GUYS!! Lately I’ve been sharing some of my classroom stories with you guys, and I think it is about time for another one. Don’t you? OF COURSE YOU DO! So here goes!
The other day I was in class, English Composition II, and we were talking about our government. The professor handed out a citizens test to see if we were knowledgable on our government and it’s history. A series of groans and mumbles echoed across the room as he began telling us about this test we were about to take. The class wanted no part of this. I heard some students say things like “Why do we need to know this for English class?” or “We’re not even getting a grade so I’m not doing this” and even a few “This is pointless” remarks. The professor just laughed and continued to hand out the test. We got into groups, filled out the test, and the the professor gathered out attention again to go over the answers.
At first it seemed like this did, in fact, have no relevance to the rest of the class. Some of us know a lot about our government, while others not so much. But after we had gone over the answers, and after we had wrapped up the test the teacher asked us “So why did I have you go over this? What was the point of this?”
The class had no idea. We were all under the assumption that this had no relevance to the other papers we were writing and essays we were analyzing. This test seemed to stick out like a sore thumb, and to have no place in our regular curriculum. Then the professor began to explain that it wasn’t to just see how much we knew about our government, but that we need to make ourselves knowledgable. Knowledgeable about our government, about our essay topics, about the culture and situation behind the essays we are reading, even about our faith and our own lives.
So here is a class, not wanting to cooperate, complaining, and neglecting to open up to this teacher. Then all of the sudden, this professor comes out and gets really deep and meaningful with us. It made us feel kind of shallow and mean. What the professor said was true, and real, and we needed to hear that for the class; we needed to hear that for life in general; we needed to put our own assumptions aside and just listen for once.
This was awesome! I’ve never been in a class that has been as personal as this one before. We talk off topic, we communicate, both by listening and speaking. Most classes are just lecture, lecture, lecture. But this class we learn by conversation, by sharing stories, opinions, and beliefs. In this case the professor showed us an important life lesson that was intended to make us more successful in our curriculum, yet that’s not where it stayed. I believe the point of class is not to learn a subject enough to pass a test and then go on with our lives, but to gain useable, applicable life lessons and knowledge that we can use to make us better holistically.
I am thankful that MNU has professors like this. Professors that aren’t afraid to actually communicate with us, to bring us in, and to send us out of the class with a lesson we can apply. You had to be there to really understand what I am trying to say, I just hope you can see how important this is to me, and how important it should be to any college student across America. So don’t shut off these opportunities. They are really vital to you. Especially in college, the time of your life when you are really trying to find out who you are and where your place is in this vast world. Just pay attention. You might learn something here and there.