September 15, 2012

What is in A letter grade?

Posted in Agenda-less at 5:04 PM by Andre

So I’m just here reading some Structural Design notes and I glance at twitter, only to see a quote regarding formal education. I’m just paraphrasing btw…

“The A students work for the B students, the C students run the companies and the D students dedicate the buildings.” – Paul Orfalea’s (Founder of Kinko’s) Mother

Now I don’t care if this is true or not but it did foster some thought especially as I already believe that University is a breeding ground for middle managers. I feel like I need to add this disclaimer: To all the young adults out there, I’m not saying don’t go to College. Statistically speaking you will earn a higher salary if you attend college. If you don’t have the stomach to play the odds then go with the safe choice each and every time. It’s the right thing to do.

Obviously we can’t all be the CEOs, el jefe or rather leaders, the vast majority of us must be followers right? Is that true though? That’s what people that want you to shoot for mediocrity want you to believe I think. Now, they don’t want you to shoot for mediocrity for the wrong reason, let’s get that straight. They want you to shoot for mediocrity because they themselves don’t know better. It has already been entrenched in our culture that tertiary education is not mediocrity and I agree…it’s one step above mediocrity though. Education should never end.

We should embrace all facets of educating ourselves. College students and new graduates, if you truly enjoy hearing birds whistle then by all means listen to them, study them because there could be a business opportunity there if you have a creative enough mind to see it.

Ahhh, I’ve strayed away from the first point I’d like to make, can’t we all be leaders? Of course we can, we can all be leaders and followers. We just can’t all lead in the same area, we need leaders in tree growing, fan making, toilet paper innovation, sunlight harvesting, the possibilities are endless. Just like a genius isn’t only someone who over-excels at Mathematics, so too a leader isn’t only a politician. I watch Cesc Fabregas(semi-traitor that he is) and I think he’s a genius with or without the ball at his feet. Genius just like leaders come in all shapes, hues, shoe sizes, breath-holding ability or even javelin throwing technique.

It’s really great that I state up front as to what I blog about. I really have no agenda here. That one quote led me to think about leaders and followers and soon enough I started to think about our education system and how broken it is. Why is it okay for everyone to think that Formal education is the best use of Tertiary education? Clearly our education system is broken. We shouldn’t be happy that we have the ability to mass produce middle managers that will end up working from 8 to 4 in a job where they complain about their boss to their spouse when they get home at 6. I know some people love this when they start to think of the alternative, mainly because they don’t want the extra responsibility. They prefer that when they leave their job for the day they do leave their job behind for the day. If they loved that job though, I could bet your bottom dollars they’d be thinking about it at 10pm while lying in bed getting ready to wake up to start the cycle all over again.

Education needs to be reformed and I’ve come up with an idea. It will work once we iron out the kinks and we then implement it. It won’t stop big business from making big bucks. I don’t want it to be a disruptor to the status quo but I do want it to revolutionise the act of teaching a child, teenager, young adult, adult, middle-aged individual. Let me start off by listing the problems as I see them. Some of you might want to define it differently and if you do, write your own blog post.

Problem 1 : Formal education isn’t available for everyone.
Problem 2 : Informal education isn’t socially accepted as a legitimate form of education.
Problem 3 : Teaching is a job
Problem 4 : Teachers are generally underpaid.

All encompassing solution : Teaching students becomes a micro-investment.

Yup, that’s it. My work here is done. See ya’s!!!

Ha! Ok no I’m not done. I didn’t think an explanation would be the best way to get my point across so I’ll use an example to best convey my solution.

  • I start my own secondary school ( this can be extrapolated to primary or tertiary schools)
  • I only hire true A students (When I say true I do not mean the hard working idiots, I mean the passionate idiot-savant that truly cares about just that one topic) with tertiary degrees.
  • I only hire true artisans
  • I only hire true entertainers (this includes sportsmen, fighters, comedians, singers)
  • Every teacher has their own fund (a banks account where money can be sent to by anyone)
  • My school starts accepting students
  • Students are placed with any of these teachers. If a teacher sees a student that currently lacks passion they find out what the student likes to do and send them to another more appropriate teacher. If a child wants to do nothing then we watch what they do in that nothing time unless it’s sleep.

Students won’t want to play football all the time and if they do, so be it. A student that’s showing the passion in a math class might get bored after 2 hours and 16 minutes and then feel like moving to the comedy class, so be it. Teachers will be paid whatever is the standard wage at the time. However as their students move on, if they do become successful they will always remember that teacher that pushed them in the right direction. We use this to ask them to donate to their teacher’s fund. The more successful students we produce, the more the teachers make in the long run and soon enough the short term. Students should always be seen as a resource and all forms of education are the tools we use to refine this resource. When the resource matures the connection they’ve had with their teacher is what compels them to donate to their teacher’s fund. If a student doesn’t want to donate, so be it, however most successful students always remember where they came from and what was their driving force. A successful comedian will remember the improv teacher that helped them hone their craft.

The reason passionate teachers are chosen is because passionate people like to teach passionate people. They feed off it. It means that the coconut picker that’s thought of a slight alteration to their coconut picking technique will wake up at the crack of dawn to try it out and after they’ve tried it out they’ll be the first in class to show this new technique to their students and they’ll be even happier when their students exhibit the same passion in getting the technique down perfect. This might sound ludicrous to you the marketing & communications student who is reading this but not everyone was cut out to do what you’re doing.

I don’t doubt that my solution is non-unique however due to ignorance or better yet, lack of education I haven’t come across it yet. So I came up with this independently so please don’t step on my bunions.

Alright, dissect away. I’d be lucky if one person dissected my argument and presented me with some flaws and a solution to those flaws. On a large scale I don’t believe this will upset the status quo as there will still be schools and administrators running the schools. All that changes is the hiring process or a change in belief of a teacher. Teachers should be passionate in the first place. They’re guiding our most precious resource. The only other significant change would be the creation of the bank account and the mentality that has to be fostered in all students’ minds: when you’re successful, give a little back to the teacher that guided you on your way. That’s a stickler isn’t it?