Misery from the Belief in the Value of Education

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The group of us stood motionless, trapped in the concrete boots of chastisement. We had been a tad rowdy and the poor mother running the homeschool co-op music lesson had finally had enough. So she threw us out of class. That experience was disorienting to me as a student, but I'm guessing it was devastating to our teacher.

She had been unable to impart to us the joy of creating music. We had been unwilling to take the lesson seriously. And since there is value in learning to play an instrument, we had squandered an opportunity. Our teacher was miserable because we--unintentionally--had rejected her instruction.

I was reminded of this experience when I bumped into a quote attributed to Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin & Hobbes):

I have a lot of sympathy for Miss Wormwood. ... I think she seriously believes in the value of education, so needless to say, she's an unhappy person.

How can believing in the value of education make someone unhappy? If your attempts are foiled day in and day out, that would be rather miserable.

I think it's interesting that Bill assumes teachers who believe in education are unhappy. Are that many students failing to fall in love with learning? That would be a reasonable assumption. But striving for academic excellence isn't a bad thing. Perhaps the problem is rooted in the focus on "education" rather than life-long learning. If Miss Wormwood is trying to cram knowledge into Calvin's mind, she's going to fail. But if she could find a way to tap into his imagination, he would soar.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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