Monday, September 14, 2015

We're not hamsters; let's get off the hamster wheel

I remember, somewhere in the course of my peripatetic voyage through post-secondary education, a prof by the name of Al Jefrey. Might have been Allan Jeffrey... or Jeffries.

Fact is, I don't remember him for his name. I remember him for the few nuggets of wisdom he imparted.

If you've spent any time at all in post secondary education, you'll appreciate the fact that nuggets of wisdom are few and very far between.

Al was one of those profs you could have a beer with. Or a few beers. Or a "what the fuck, it's last call already?" number of beers.

But Al left me with a couple of nuggets.

Nugget number one.

I remember Al saying, and I don't remember how many beers we were into teacher-student bonding at the moment, that he'd rather get screwed over once in awhile than lose faith in humanity.

That made a lasting impression on me. I've adopted Al's philosophy.

I'd rather deal with getting fucked over once in awhile than give up my faith in humanity.

Al's philosophy has become mine.

I've certainly been fucked over more than a few times...

But I still believe, from the bottom of my heart, that everybody deserves another last chance.

Al's other nugget was this; in the global race for all that shit that the global race is about; efficiency, productivity, profitability... we've lost.

Let's face it. Kids in South Korea, who have academic coaches from the time they're two years old, who have tutors from grade three on, who invest 80 hours a week in their education all through their teen years, who strive and connive to get into the best universities and commit suicide when they don't, are always going to kick our butts in standardized tests.


How is that a model for anything we should aspire to?

Let's get off the hamster wheel and rediscover what it means to be human.

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