This psot first appeared on my education blog: schoolingamerica.wordpress.com. It is applicable to the YBR. I’ve added a piece to the end to tie-it into the YBR.
Even though I have been teaching college courses for 14 years, I still have a lot to learn. While driving today I heard a radio talk show host talking about being a passenger. In short order I tuned out the talk show host and began to think about passengers in terms of being a college instructor. I am the driver. Currently I have 20 passengers in my learning vehicle. Try as hard as I can, I cannot crack the shell of the students in my class. And then it dawned on me. Passengers are passive, and the longer you’ve been a passenger the more passive you become.
We don’t put seatbelts on students, but we might as well, because we’ve restrained them. Even before school, most children are passengers in life. They just get in the back seat and turn off their imagination. And it’s not their fault. Our school system only has room for one driver. So, from the start of their education, our children are passengers, or perhaps we should call them “passivengers” because not only are they passengers they are passive. After 12 years of being a passenger, they board the college bus where suddenly they are expected to stop being passengers.
What the hell are we thinking? How do we expect such a magical transformation when we’ve never stopped to give college-bound students any driving lessons? But now that I think about it, most college instructors only give lip service to turning over the wheel to the student. In cases, however, when an instructor wants to encourage his/her students to stop being passivengers…the request is met with blank stares and some resistance because most of our students have earned good grades by being passivengers.
Because the stakes are so high for today’s college student, few of them want to sit in the driver’s seat. Just buckle them up in the back seat, give them a syllabus, tell them what they have to do to earn an A…and step on the gas.
Leaders are not passengers..and neither are entrepreneurs. Success in the larger sense of the word does not come to students who remain passivengers.
The world needs fewer passivengers and more drivers. I encourage students to take risks. To stretch their thinking. And yes, I challenge them to challenge the guy/gal in the front of the class.
I’ll let students in on something educators don’t want them to know. In life your grades don’t matter diddly-squat. When students are out on the battlefield in the real world, it’s not their grades that will keep them moving forward…it’s their DRIVE.
Tie-in to the YBR: Dorothy was definitel not a passenger nor a passivenger. She might have been one in Kansas, but once she hit the YBR she took the wheel. And while she picked up three passengers along the way, they were not passivengers. In fact, each of Dorothy’s companions took the wheel on the YBR.
We need to take whatever steps necessary to take the wheel on the YBR.