It is uncertain what school does beyond the PR. One thing is certain
School will never teach you how to stand & take risks for your beliefs.
— NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) February 20, 2016
I am riskier these days. I have a political blog. I am adding networking as a coequal ingredient to my comp/research class. I am way outside the bounds of the norm with a very liquid syllabus, an exploded idea about what the products of a research comp course can be, and a hard push to get my students to value curiosity over strategy.
As Taleb says above, “School will never teach you how to stand & take risks for your beliefs,” but I bet teachers can show their students how to begin to do it. That’s my theory anyway. That’s my attempted practice. But, as the cowboy says in “The Big Lebowski”,
Yesterday, I ran into a bear.
I work at a regional university. In a relatively poor state like Kentucky that means that we don’t have a good research library (it ain’t bad either) or lots of PhD programs (we have two) or academic reputation. We accept almost everyone who applies, we struggle mightily to keep folks in school, and students are stretched thither and yon just to survive and learn. Friday was one of those days where only half the students came. Every class was the same. Big holes.
I asked those who came, “Where is everybody?” They shruggeth and say, “It’s Friday.” Others say with not a whit of sarcasm, “Yeah, it’s the Friday before Spring Break.” Really? Were my students already leaving for Spring Break.
Look at all the cool stuff I brought along to share.
How dare they not come and partake of the feast I have prepared for them! How dare they indeed. How dare I, in fact, assume that my classroom was a feast day in some very weird university liturgical calendar and that it had to stay fixed. As Hemingway argued: life has to be a movable feast, it has to have many courses.
I dare me. I dare you. I dare us.