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How My Student Changed My Life By Calling Me a Hypocrite
  • Calendar Apr 06, 2018
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments
This is a true story. I had just sat down to work with a student whom I had known for several years. We had done SAT prep together the previous year. He asked me how my day had been going, so I told him that it had been a long day. I had the boring, painful task of reading the least interesting reading imaginable: SAT essays written by students over the weekend. So I whined about what a painful task it was, how it disrupted my productivity that morning, etc, etc. With a gleam in his eye (the gleeful kind teenagers get when they are about to call adults out on their BS) he said, "Vince, didn't you always tell me that it's a choice to be interested? What, you think just because they are teenagers writing these essays means you don't have anything to learn from them?" I feebly defended myself, telling him that yes, he was right, but c'mon. These were essays the students themselves didn't even want to write, at the end of hours of draining testing. Could there be a source of writing less likely to provide value or wisdom? It had nothing to do with their youth. But I correctly predicted his response: That doesn't matter. My choice was to find value in the writing, or find boredom. So why choose boredom? He had me, and he knew it. I laughed and congratulated him on turning my lesson around on me, and I resolved to give these student essays my energy and engagement. I wasn't surprised to find that reading those essays was a less painful, more valuable, more enjoyable experience once I changed my attitude. I'm sure that made my feedback to the students more valuable. It wasn't two weeks later that I ended up reading a student essay written about a book called "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse. This was a book that I was assigned to read in high school, but rushed through it to get it done, and didn't think much of it. However, this student wrote about the book in such a way that my interest was piqued. It just happened that it was my turn to choose the book for my book club, and I picked it. Maybe it was just the right time in my life, or my determination to look for the value in the book because of my student's comment. Whatever it was, I was blown away by the book, and ended up reading "The Power of Now" by Ekhart Tolle as recommended by a friend at the book club. I've always been a scientific minded person who didn't think he had any need for spiritual "gobbledy-gook". Those books helped me find a peace in my life that I had no idea that I needed. A peace I may never had found had these two students not given me the gifts they did. So thank you to both of those students. I hope you got as much value from our SAT program as I got from the latter's essay on Siddhartha, and the former's calling me out on not living what I teach. And I hope that sharing the experience I had can convince students to look for value in everything they read, even if it might not be exactly what they would have chosen. Looking get more out of your reading? Give us a call today to discuss how we can help!

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