I recently heard a podcast that I thought related to my AP English class. It was an interview of Seth Godin.
One point that Godin made really stuck out to me. He pointed out that schools teach obedience that isn’t valuable in the real world. School teaches us to work by ourselves and to search for the one right answer. In the real world this won’t help you. People who become successful do it “despite what they did in school, not because of what they did in school.” The way we are taught in school causes us to be afraid of being wrong, instead of having the confidence to stand up and say “I made this”.
My English teacher does everything he can to break us out of the obedience we have learned in our previous years of school, and it is a nice breath of fresh air. He gives us open ended essay with just a mode of writing and not a topic. So you can write about your favorite sport instead of the teacher telling you to write about what you did over summer vacation. It has really helped me to improve my writing. I have found that since I can now write about anything that I want I get more personally attached to my essay, and this in the end makes them better. Before this class a lot of my essay were very textbook and not creative, but breaking out of the typical dog obedience way of school has helped me to change that.
Photo @2011 by Jeff Randleman (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
The freedom we are given in my English class, especially in our essays, also relates to another point that Godin makes. He stated that you’re “not going to make it as a worker bee, but as someone who is figuring out what to do next”. I feel the typical essay prompt could be compared to the worker bee, and our open ended essays cause us to be the people figuring out what to do next. I have really noticed a significant difference in trying to change from the worker bee into the person figuring out what to do next. For many of my essays I have found myself sitting in front of my computer for sometimes even an hour trying to decide what to write about. I feel this is because I have never had to do this before. I was always given the topic and never told to pick my own. It seems obvious that creativity and the ability to think on our own is something we are going to need once we finish school. So, why are we not taught this in school? Why are we forced to follow this dog like obedience?
Godin says that and artist is not just a painter or writer, but anyone who is willing to trying something new. One assignment in my class that forces us to be artists is our blogs. Along with this blog I am also part of a group blog(tlcmd3). On this blog our only directions were to post at least once a week. What we write about is completely up to us. I am still struggling with this one because there is just so many things to write about, and I have a really hard time trying to pick something. My blog posts have ranged from things about Family Traditions to finding your “thing”. And even though I am struggling with these blog posts, I know they will help me to become an artist.
I found it interesting during the interview when he talked about the different views people have on the world. He called one of them the Walmart view, the people that want as much as possible for as cheap as possible. He called the opposite the abundance view, these are the people that seek what they don’t have enough of. I thought this was really interesting because our society is definitely closer to the Walmart view than the abundance view. People today buy as much as possible just so they can say they have it. But, I disagree with him when he says that a world with the abundance is the world that builds connections. I think that a world with the Walmart view can build the same connections. People today stay very isolated from people they don’t have common interests with, and the Walmart view helps people to build those common interests.
Seth Godin’s interview really opened up my eyes to how we are and are not prepared for the real world when we graduate from school. While we might think we are ready to step out on our own, we actually still have a lot more learning to do.