Thursday, June 9, 2011

Do you think they make me look smarter?

Nah, you can still see your face...

Do you remember that line from Grease? In that scene, Rizzo was talking about Frenchie's glasses. I'm talking about degrees. Or more specifically my degrees.

As you know, this semester I started my Masters. A lot of people, when I tell them, say "oh no, how can you study? I hated uni", and stuff like that.

But I actually do like it. I love learning new things, and studying at university is one way to do that. Yes, it takes up some time that I could probably do other things (watch TV? Housework?), but I do quite enjoy it. People talk about how long it takes, and how boring it is, and how they can learn new stuff without getting a piece of paper to go with it. And they probably have a good point. I guess I like that bit of paper. That little bit of recognition (am I still craving my little bit of fame perhaps? Left over from my 'I wanna be a movie star' days?)

Yesterday, Yong Zhao, a well respected educator and academic, came to talk to some of the principals, teachers and office staff here in the ACT. I was so inspired and captivated by him, I watched his presentation 3 times.

And those three times, while there was some of the same content, he managed to spin it around and make it relevant to whoever was sitting in the room. He had everyone in the palm of his hand. He was truly a great speaker. Perhaps one day I'll tell you about some of his ideas about the future of education.

But the reason, I think, that he was so great is that he's a really smart guy. A smart guy that knows how to talk to people. To make them think, to make them laugh. A guy that knows his stuff, and has a good answer to every possible question someone might throw at him.

I don't think I'm that smart. I wish I was, I really do. I'd love to be someone like him, that travels the world inspiring people to do really great things.

But the truth is, I'm not.

It's not that I'm dumb. I know a lot of stuff, and I have experienced many things. But I just don't think I have that 'total package' of above-average intelligence, as well as a knack with words. Spoken words especially (have I told you about my tendency to let my mouth run way ahead of my brain?)

So perhaps that's why I study. Not because I want to be smarter, but perhaps because I feel I need to prove myself (hence the piece of paper). That I can't (like some of the amazing people I work with, and have worked with in the past) absorb new ideas and information or naturally do really amazing, innovative things. For me to really understand things (some of the things some of the people mentioned here seem to grasp instantly and easily), I need to read, to write, to throw all the ideas together on a page and move them around until they make sense to me.
And don't get me wrong, I do that pretty well. I got great marks all through my Bachelor's degree, and so far, so good with the Masters. I'm not trying to put myself down, I just wish that I had a bit more of the....well I don't even know what to call it!

Actually, I would like to be really great at something. Anything. Yong said yesterday that to be really great at something, it takes 10000 hours. I'm not sure if I've put 10000 hours into anything in my life. Perhaps that's why. I've done lots (and lots) of things in my life, taken up lots (and lots) of different hobbies, but there hasn't really been anything that I've been great at, or so passionate about that I would devote that kind of time to it.

Ken Robinson talks about finding your element (great book by the way, if you get the chance, have a look at it). The thing that you love doing and that you do really well. He says that when we find our element, we can achieve great things. I have a feeling that my element is something to do with teaching. I'm just not sure what type of teaching: kids, adults, monkeys...who knows? Or maybe learning. Because I love learning. I do it well. Sometimes in very short bursts, but I always do it well.

All I know is that I walked out of there yesterday with a desire to study even more. Ideas for PhD topics have been popping up in my head all day! But I guess it's best to finish my Masters first!

1 comment:

  1. I understand your desire to study - I have always said if I won lotto I would become a perpetual student... I think at the moment I should wait until the Zoe monster is a bit older before I I do it..... I love the process, and I think that it would be good for my kids to see me working hard at something I love. If you want to do your PHD - go for it. And best of luck!



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