Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Education vs. Experience

Our school principal gave us the following quote, from my personal favorite front porch philosopher, Pete Seeger:

"Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't."

I am living that this week, with my students (and their parents) who didn't read the fine print on their exam exemptions. It stated, "Understand that the exemption status may change if assignments are not completed during the next few days of school. Only the current average reflected exemption privileges." We also have a policy that students in the 8th grade must earn an A every quarter all year to be exempt, even if the student's yearly average is an A. That said, seven out of my 85 students did not show for their exam yesterday that they were not exempted from.

What I have learned:
Even though I posted exemptions outside the classroom, posted them on my teacher website, announced them in class, and every teacher has reminded the students of the all A's all year to be exempt rule, seven students who had yearly averages of an A, stopped listening when I said they had an A for the year.

What I would do differently in the future:
Make the students sign stating they knew they were not exempt and send a NEW notification home stating so.

In the end, we only hear what we want to hear and bite back at anyone who goes against our deepest wishes. The experience we gain is often full of bitterness and turmoil, but we do remember. Those of us who learn, do so and let it go. Those of us who carry it around the rest of our lives poison ourselves in the process.

So, today will you read the fine print or gain experience?

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