Are we a world of non-thinkers?
By GARY ANDREWS
In the late 1990’s I taught Journalism, part-time, to high school students. I am not a certified teacher however I did, at that time, have over 25 years of journalism experience and was considered a professional in the field.
This qualified me to help our local high school which was short a teacher.
It was refreshing to be with most of these students. It was a challenge to be around some of the others. School had changed so much from my days of high school and college.
Having no textbooks for this elective course, I had to bring in materials I had gathered over my print media span and use it to the best of my ability. The students were hungry for what I had to say, but did not appreciate the fact that I made them write a lot of stories, read a lot of material, but most of them really hated my spelling tests. They couldn’t believe juniors and seniors in high school had to take spelling tests, which was desperately needed. Most of them did not want to think on their own. They wanted every answer given to them and it bothered them that I wouldn’t do that. I thought students needed to learn the way I did when I was in school.
I used riddles and puzzles and made them figure them out. One puzzle I gave was very hard and the answer to it was very tricky. I challenged them with this puzzle and made the statement that the first one with the correct answer, I would give an “A” grade for that semester. The worst thing I did was allow them to work on it overnight instead of in class.
One student brought the puzzle back with the accepted answer. No one else in class got the answer. I knew this student and his parents and knew his parents worked the puzzle for him.
True to my word I gave this student an “A” for the semester even though he was barely above failing.
I tell this story because a couple of years later I ran into this student who was a stock person for a local retailer. He spoke to me and told me he didn’t appreciate me giving him a “B” for the year. He thought I should have given him a better grade.
My reply to him, which I said in haste, that he was correct. I should have given him what he earned. The only way he was awarded the grade he got for the year was because of the promise I made, during the first semester, for the first one to get the answer to the puzzle, which he didn’t do on his own. At this time he was walking away but I had to tell him his grades were below normal and that’s what he