Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I was reading about John Taylor Gatto, the 1991 New York City school teacher of the year, and I was most amused about how he responded to the award--he quit his teaching career and began a life for himself on a farm with his wife. Although he quit teaching, he didn't stop trying to help us learn. He is the author of several books on the perils that forced schooling are inflicting on generations of students all around the world. These days, he is an advocate of home schooling and a supporter of the Libertarian party.

From what I've seen, the core of his argument is that going to school crushes your individuality, teaches you to use external measures of self-worth, and neglects to properly prepare you for a healthy, fulfilling life. Instead, it collates and sorts photocopied graduates to be filed in the Human Resources department of our corporations.

Although I have had some positive learning experiences in my time, I would agree for the most part. I have always enjoyed reading on my own and learning from my parents (who are both teachers, giving me an unfair chance!). I only questioned the idea of going to school when I was five years old and vowed that I would hide underneath my bed when the bus arrived to cart me off. That thinking was long dead, until now.

I know that if I want to write for a living, I'll have to go back to Concordia University eventually. (McGill missed out on a great prospect when they scoffed at my mountain-range chart of high and low marks...they vary from 19 in Vectors and Linear Algebra to 100 in History of Western Civilization) The diploma I receive in Journalism won't teach me to write--it will teach me to pull my punches at the behest of an editor, to follow the "rules", and to make deadlines and get real world experience in the field. So far, the only real journalism I've ever done is for Spec Newspaper, and only an op-ed piece on the 2001 FTAA summit in Quebec City. Unless you count this blog, of course.

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