The librarian doesn’t tell me what to read, doesn’t tell me what sequence of reading I have to follow, doesn’t grade my reading. The librarian trusts me to have a worthwhile purpose of my own. I appreciate that and trust the library in return.
Some other significant differences between libraries and schools: the librarian lets me ask my own questions and helps me when I want help, not when she decides I need it. If I feel like reading all day long, that’s okay with the librarian, who doesn’t compel me to stop at intervals by ringing a bell in my ear. The library keeps its nose out of my home. It doesn’t send letters to my family, nor does it issue orders on how I should use my reading time at home.
The library doesn’t play favorites; it’s a democratic place as seems proper in a democracy. If the books I want are available, I get them, even if that decision deprives someone more gifted and talented than I am. The library never humiliates me by posting ranked lists of good readers. It presumes good reading is its own reward and doesn’t need to be held up as an object lesson to bad readers….
The library never makes predictions about my future based on my past reading habits. It tolerates eccentric reading because it realizes free men and women are often very eccentric.From John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education:
Category Archives: Quotes
My awesome colleague George Thompson passed this along to me. I think it summarizes nicely what, to me, is probably the most fundamental thing to keep in mind as a librarian, educator, or human being more generally: that genuine connection with other human beings is at the core of everything we do.
There’s Just Some Stuff Students SHOULD Know: Some Thoughts on Dewey on Education with Reference to Library Instruction
I was having a passing conversation the other day with our new library dean and another librarian at my university that all of the sudden involved me pontificating (a rare occurrence, to be sure) on the nature of education. I’m leading a project at my university where we’re creating a formal information literacy curriculum with written outcomes, modules, and assessments, and several librarians are involved in the process.
At any rate, as I said, we were talking kind of in passing after the meeting about whether there are things, objectively speaking, that “students should know.” I think this is a common view in libraries and in education. Let’s call it:
The Objective Importance View: There’s just some things an educated person should know.
This is, I think, probably uncontroversial on the face of it. After all, what the hell are we doing here, if not educating students about stuff they should know?
But here’s the thing. I actually think The Objective Importance View is false. More colloquially, I probably think it’s controlling bullshit.
“If you just sit down and say, ‘I’m going to learn this thing until I do,'” he says, “there’s not really much out there that you can’t figure out eventually.”
Interesting little story, basketball fan or not.
Home was the place where I was forced to conform to someone else’s image of who and what I should be. School was the place where I could forget that self and, through ideas, reinvent myself.
Bell Hooks, Teaching to Transgress, p. 3.
[…] the pleasure of teaching is an act of resistance countering the overwhelming boredom, uninterest, and apathy that so often characterize the way professors and students feel about teaching and learning, about the classroom experience
Bell Hooks, Teaching to Transgress, p. 10.
Throughout my years as student and professor, I have been most inspired by those teachers who have had the courage to transgress those boundaries that would confine each pupil to a rote, assembly-line approach to learning. Such teachers approach students with the will and desire to respond to our unique beings, even if the situation does not allow the full emergence of a relationship based on mutual recognition. Yet the possibility of such recognition is always present.
-Bell Hooks, Teaching to Transgress, p. 13.
I like people who have a sense of individuality. I love expression and anything awkward and imperfect, because that’s natural and that’s real.
I’ve often noticed when interacting with people who believe struggle with feelings of self-judgment -when producing something, when trying to create something, or, hell, even just trying to be – that they’re hampered by perfectionism, and that what drives their perfectionism is their belief that if they don’t think they have to strive for perfection, they won’t accomplish anything or be successful.
In my own case, I’ve found pretty much the exact opposite to be true, and it seems that Brene Brown things so, too:
In the research there’s a significant difference between perfectionism and healthy striving or striving for excellence. Perfectionism is the belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around, thinking it will protect us, when in fact it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from being seen.
Perfectionism is also very different than self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval. Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect.” Healthy striving is self- focused: How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused: What will they think? Perfectionism is a hustle.
Last, perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows that perfectionism hampers achievement. Perfectionism is correlated with depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis or missed opportunities. The fear of failing, making mistakes, not meeting people’s expectations, and being criticized keeps us outside of the arena where healthy competition and striving unfolds.
I like that phrasing, that perfectionism is a “hustle: – a little scam our ego (parental and societal super-ego?) runs on our authentic selves to prevent us from actually being happy, creative, and productive – and totally agree with Brown’s assessment that perfectionism is largely about trying to impress other people, rather than doing what makes us happy.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.