Blog blast for education

Mid june has been exam period for me for 10 years: a period of solitude with my study books, pencils, study schemes and stress and uncertainty. 8 years later, I don't miss it for a single bit.

However April has invited us all today to participate in a blog blast for education, so I reflected back to my study time:

Here's what April has to say about the event:"Education is an issue that affects every Mommy Bloggers' lives (and the Daddies, too).We've been hearing lately how much power we have, let's utilize it. Let's talk about whatever concerns us most. Let's talk about a brilliant teacher or curriculum. Let's talk about homework. What's the first thing you think about when you hear the word "education?" Let's talk about that. We can learn from each other, right?"

As soon as I read that I thought about 2 high school teachers that I appreciated very much. As a matter of fact both of them were teachers classical languages (Latin & Greek) and Leen was a former student of Piet and had been inspired to become a teacher herself, applying the same teaching philosophy.
Whereas the first years of Latin & Greek are focused on acquiring basic vocabulary and studying and applying the different grammar rules. But once the basic has been set out, focus shifts towards reading classic liturature. But these teachers Leen and Piet broadened the spectrum to philosophy discussions, society analysis and critical thinking.

I remember Leen saying at one point in grade 10 "I don't have the slightest illusion that any of you will still be able to translate these texts in 10 years time. And frankly that doesn't bother me at all. But I'd hate to know that you have not learned anything from our discussions that originated from these texts".

Well Leen, if you ever read this: I cannot translate 3 words of Greek anymore. I have forgotten all grammar and vocabulary. But I do remember all those texts and the themes "hubris" and "gnothi seauton" ...
Piet, I remember how you stressed to be critical when hearing / reading communications and speeches and publicity when reading the Cicero's speeches. I do still ask myself "what's the true purpose of these words? who benefits from them?".

I remember that you both gave us homework assignments "ask me 5 questions" and we got marks from that. After all we could leave a sentence blank in a text when we could not translate them...or we could ask for the missing translation ....or we could tell you that we could not translate the sentence because the only word in the nominative case was an adjectif and we could not find the accompagnying noun in nominative case that would make up the subject of thise sentence.
Funny how often we went through our materials, looking for the things we did not understand well yet....and while doing our best to define the most specific question that pinpointed us to the source of our problem (which would result in higher grades for the question), we usually solved our own problem.
I just realised I still have to apply that when users phone me that a piece of software "is broken".
I remember all assignments having an optional part "do whatever you want"...stimulating us to write a poem, draw, add documentation , start a discussion ...anything remotely linked to the content. They were the only 2 teachers I ever had that truly stimulated us to think out of the box and who didn't force us to stay in "their domain".

I remember our discussions about the triangle (power, money, prestige) that seems to be the motivators in a society suffering from decadence (=> a society where the old values do not work anymore and the new ones have not arrived yet). Whenever I see e.g. the VIP reserved seats with uninterested people in the front row of some cultural event, I see the link again between the money and the prestige.

I also remember Piet's funeral almost 9 years ago where a few hundred people had to stand outside the church on the village square and where former students who had already graduated more than 10 years before showed up. I guess I am not the only one who valued his teachings. And I am sure they didn't come back for the grammar & vocabulary rules or the pure translations he had done. I surely hope Leen keeps on inspiring the teenagers and teaching colleagues.


Jen said…
They sound like remarkable teachers!
There's nothing better than great, inspiring teachers.... Great post...!

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