“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
I read this and at first I chuckled but then I found myself agreeing with it. I look back at my education and I spent too long copying out texts in lessons and being ‘talked at’ rather than actually being taught. I found an old history and Science book of mine in the garage and at first glance they look very neat, well organised and as if the writer is full of knowledge but I know all this was just copied from a book. I wasn’t overly academic I am Mrs ‘slightly above average’ when it comes to the achievement department, no revision being done, fun was being had elsewhere. I don’t remember feeling particularly inspired by my teachers, certainly my secondary school teachers anyway who mainly ruled with a rod of iron and tried to scare you into learning, well, the welsh ones did anyway. I was musical but a scholarship meant I had lessons outside of the school; this was the same for orchestras. The school only provided a rudimentary musical education. I say rudimentary but all I really remember from those music lessons was my teacher Mr Page and those infamous kipper ties he wore and the fact we spent a lot of time ‘composing’ in practice rooms.
My degree is a BA ed (music) and I hoped this would be more awe inspiring but all they really wanted us to do was churn out essay after essay reiterating what we had been told or what we had read. No one was particularly interested in what we thought, what we felt we had learned from the lectures. I spent 4 years at University and was proud the day I graduated but I felt a certain sense of relief. I learned far more in the classroom watching other teachers (the good and the bad) listening, reading around the subject and forming my own opinions. The first year of a newly qualified teacher’s life is a probationary year and the most amazingly steeped learning curve I have ever faced.
So I look back on my school days thinking that whilst I had a great time, I’m not sure that was really supposed to be the point! I have a brain, I think it’s quite a good one, but it was never really stretched or put to the test. I was and A/B student in the first couple of years of secondary school but then my parents divorced and I couldn’t really have given a fig and the school didn’t seem to either. No-one pushed me at home and I certainly didn’t push myself. So for me, I have to agree with Einstein I have learned so much more from being outside the classroom. My people skills came from trying to negotiate a difficult depressed mother who was often moody and nasty. I am creative but I learned to sew through school but someone outside of school inspired me (I’ll blog about her one day I’m sure) my music teachers had nothing to do with school at all. I have a deep work ethic as I worked from the age of 14 when my parents divorced and I couldn’t buy my father a birthday present.
Lessons well learned, an education of sorts but knowledge I didn’t get from school.