Learning To Teach and Teaching To Learn

Education is an enlightening experience. To be enlightened is to learn, understand something, and know how it works. Throughout history, learning has gradually come from figuring something out, and perhaps from being mentored by someone, to learning in a formal school setting. Things that have been taught in school settings have evolved over the years, but some core skills have stayed the same. A student has always learned how to read, write, and do math. Eventually, there were classes that would teach metal work, how to work on a car, how to carve wood, and how to sow and cook. But in recent years, these classes that taught skills have been cut from schools. Teachers, who once were free to teach the subject how they wanted, are now under strict guidelines for how to teach. And students, who once had a strong understanding of each subject, are now being passed through the grades with very little understanding of them. Teachers in public schools must teach in accordance with government mandated guidelines, so teachers are feeling unmotivated, students have been passed through a grade without proper education, and students are not learning proper life lessons to take on life.

The public school system is something that once represented quality education, discipline, and structure. It meant men and women who had a passion for teaching would instruct the youth on how to be properly prepared for life. Now it is a place of stress for both students and faculty. Students have been allowed to get away with more disruptive behavior. This causes class time to be ill spent. When one anonymous teacher had a disruptive student removed from the class, the school blamed the teacher for the student’s behavior—the school declared it was because the teacher was not assigning “challenging” or “proper” enough amounts of homework (Secret Teacher). The teacher was then required to do unpaid tutoring hours with the student – this was believed to motivate the student. In the end, the teacher felt time was being ill spent, helping a student who did not care about education. The teacher also felt frustrated because, not only was precious time that could have been spent grading other students’ homework wasted, that wasted time was also unpaid time. The school directors did not know that the student was a disruptive pupil and would throw things during class. All the school was concerned about was what the student’s parents would say, instead of considering the rest of the class. With this being done, and the teacher not being able to teach how s/he wanted, the teacher ended up becoming completely unmotivated about school and the role as an educator. As the teacher put it:

Teaching is not just a profession, it is a life choice. I was aware of this before I committed to the job. However, so dictatorial has it become in its assumption that we are all dedicated philanthropists that it is sapping any enjoyment out of the job. Two years in, and I’m throwing in the towel to become part of the growing statistic of dropouts. You see, I never wanted to be a social activist. I just wanted to teach English. (“Secret Teacher”)

This is the sad reality of how many teachers are feeling in the school system today. Tired and unmotivated.

The public school system was once a symbol of quality education. Education is, and always should, be viewed as an “enlightening experience.” But too many students are no longer being given the opportunity to have that enlightening experience – yet they are being told that they are receiving it. Students are being told they can entrust their educational experience to men and women known as “teachers.” The problem here is that, while in the classroom, teachers are the only ones learning throughout the school day. Most of what adults and children learn that is life-applicable is learned while at home and during leisure time “Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching there is an ounce of learning by those who are taught” (“The Objective”). Some of the most important (but viewed as simple) things that a person performs – such as getting dressed, talking, reading, and eating – are learned as a child. Learned, not taught. What mostly goes on in a student’s mind while in school is memorization. Not learning.

To “learn” is to fully understand something and carry on that understanding throughout life. But to “memorize” information in school is to simply remember some steps that make no sense but simply allow for the student to pass a test. Memorization will only stay with a student for a short while, but will quickly escape the student’s mind, and the information will never be used again. So far, teaching seems to be a more efficient way to learn “Teaching enables the teacher to discover what one thinks about the subject being taught. Schools are upside down: Students should be teaching and faculty learning.” In the modern school system, the student’s main source of information from the teacher. But that is not how it always was – “In the one-room schoolhouse, students taught students. The teacher served as a guide and a resource but not as one who force-fed content into students’ minds.” This is unfortunately the truth of how schools are now. Students are expected to learn everything they need to know for life from the same group of teachers who are learning the subject at the same time as the students are. And in the end, it is only the teachers who are truly learning anything during those eight hours of school.

One of the best methods of learning is experience. To experience something and then to understand it is a better “teacher” than a teacher. People have always had the capability to learn and would manage to learn. People were learning long before schools were established. The way professions were taught in the past was through apprenticeships. To be an apprentice, a person at a young age would go, and train under an established expert in whatever craft was being performed. The apprentices would eventually become the master themselves and train another in their footsteps. They learned from experience, from doing something themselves, and from an expert in the subject, not from a teacher who was learning at the same time as they were.

Students should also make more of an effort to learn on their own. Instead of students being taught to rely on others to teach them, they should be taught – from as early as the first grade – “that learning how to learn is largely their responsibility— with the help they seek but that is not imposed on them.” The most efficient form of education is being put to use on the teachers instead of the students.

The school system has put unfair regulations on teachers, causing teachers to lose their motivation and drive to teach. Even if the teachers keep their enthusiasm, they are not passing it on to their students by teaching them to teach themselves. The few memorable things that students retain are not life-relevant concepts that will make them smarter or wiser in their daily lives. Students are being exposed to mature subjects too early that lead them to make age-inappropriate decisions instead of being given proper education and guidance on how to teach themselves to prepare for life-choices. A short list of things students are not being taught in school but will need to function in their daily adult lives consists of the following: critical thinking, face-to-face conversation, how to wisely handle money, and firm understanding of the structure and constitutional function of the government. How are students not being taught to prepare themselves for adult life? When it comes to thinking,

The stakes are high in our duties and responsibilities in life. The decisions we make have real-world consequences, some immediate, and some delayed, affecting ourselves and others. Making the right choices could literally mean the difference between happiness and remorse, success and failure, and so on. We need to be equipped with the ability to think through scenarios and situations which inevitably arise in our lives, not only for the sake of successful endeavors, but also for the sake of being wise for its own sake.

Education ties into this seamlessly since it is

generally pragmatic, wherein the educators test students on specific data, and as such students will learn the specific data just for the test, often by rote memorization. Too often, then, students are not taught how to think through to solutions; even in math, formulas are memorized and the numbers plugged-in to the formula without an understanding of the formula’s formation and what it is solving for, and what are real scenarios it’s applicable to. Learning about Logical Consequence is a good place to start. […] Avoiding self-referential incoherency leads to thinking that is consistent with itself. (Akins)

memorization is not the key, learning is however.

The other skill that students now lack is the skill of face-to-face conversation. Conversation will always be used in life. There are so many times every single day that conversation is held – with siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, teachers, and spouses. But with this generation’s over-saturation in social media and other technologies, the greatest irony has become a reality. Instead of being known as the most out-spoken generation, it has come to be known as the “Silent Generation.” This is because there are less and less face-to-face interactions compared to digital ones, and schools are not endorsing the education of traditional social skills and

in so doing, their personal communication skills are being hindered. The broader outcome could be social isolation, arrested social development, and not learning from the common lot of other’s experiences and mistakes who are their age and older, which could stifle a person in various ways and potentially become a barrier to rewarding careers and the full enjoyment of relationships. Knowing how to connect with others, being empathetic, when to speak and when to listen, is of great value in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships. To learn the art of conversation is to actually do it, with peers and other varied and diverse people.

Talking is a necessity in life today.

Another life skill that is being dangerously under-taught in public schools is how to handle money. Handling money is very important. There is much more to handling money than just owning a business. One must learn how to balance a check book, how to budget, to have a savings account and retirement savings. Students should be taught how to self-manage their money and how to be self-employed. They need also to be taught how to pay taxes and bills, and most important of all, how to avoid gaining debt. Unfortunately, the only way to learn these skills is by attending extracurricular activities. These are skills that all people should know how to perform before graduating high school.

Another subject that schools have lacked to properly teach is how the United States government works. Students are dangerously unaware of the fact that the government works for them, and not the other way around. Students have been raised under the notion that they do not have much say on what goes on with the government – and that the only time they do is when it is time to vote. But even how, where, and what to vote for is not taught to students in school.

In certain classes we are taught the Bill of Rights, but how these broad rights actually apply to us in day-to-day practice is usually not covered. It is important as a citizen to know and practice your rights when appropriate, and enjoy the freedoms that the U.S. has to offer. It is also beneficial to be involved in politics, from the federal to the local levels, and be aware of who the politicians are, such as the senators representing your state and the mayor of your city.

For students to not be informed about their own government while in school should be much more seriously looked at and corrected. America has always been known as the land of the free, that it belongs to its people – not one group of individuals who make laws that only benefit themselves. If Americans do not take charge of their own freedom and rights, then others will. And America will no longer be the land of the free.

The public school system and education, once an icon for proper and quality education for young adolescents has slowly changed over the years. Teachers that were once allowed to be in charge of their classrooms and their students are now becoming discouraged and have lost their enthusiasm to educate. This is because schools are putting unfair restrictions on teachers and forcing them to work with students who do not care about their schooling experience. Time spent in the class is no longer time spent teaching students; instead, students are memorizing what they need to know to pass a test, and the teachers are the only ones who are truly learning in a life-enhancing way. This is mostly because the teacher, as well as the student, is hearing about the subject being taught for the first time in the classroom. Students need more hands on experiences like in the days of old when young men and women would become apprentices until they became a master of the craft being studied. Then, on top of students not learning in general, schools are no longer teaching students valuable life skills, such communication skills, critical thinking, financial literacy, and healthy citizen-government relationships. This means students are becoming more and more socially isolated, financially unstable, intellectually starved, and unhealthily distant from their civic duties. These are not observations. These are facts of what is happening right now. It is happening in public school systems across the nation. So, for the sake of America’s students and future citizens, it is time to make schools great again. It is time to stop breathing down the necks of teachers and forcing them to adhere to curricula and schedules that are not working. It is time to let teachers teach students how to learn on their own by teaching themselves. It is time to empower the next generation to become “the” next generation. It is time.


Letter to Emily

West Oak Lane 1018

May 13 1886

Lost Bird Ave. 2222

Mrs. Dickenson.

Dear Mrs. Dickenson, you are possibly my favorite poet, and author of our age. You seem to capture things how they are and never sees to amaze me with your effortless messages that you effortlessly bleed from your heart, into your hand, into your pen, onto the pager, and into my heart. Your writing style is one that I deeply enjoy. In your poem “A Word,” you write something short and simple. Yet it delivers a powerful thought provoking message that kept me awake for many nights as I thought about the words I so carelessly spoke, in this case, murdered, or gave life to.

In your poem you talk about how some people say that a word is dead when spoken. But you say a word just begins to live. I think depending on the word and the context it is used the word’s life span can vary. What I mean is if I were to say “I love cookies,” while petting a dog, the word love will only live for that brief moment that it is spoken, then it dies. But if I were to say “I love you,” while looking you in the eyes while watching the sunset, the word love will live on much longer than the previous use. For the meaning of it and context is now different and the meaning will live on and stay with you for much longer there for the word just began its life, and lived a full life.

What I have just said is me getting excited about simply one of your poems. But I have a feeling you are hoarding thousands of poems and stories behind the closed doors of your bedroom, and that only your death will allow the public eye to see them all. Now I must admit if it were up to me I would live in my room and not leave ever too. People are not quiet my fancy so I understand your decision making. But I do wonder what led to you not wanting to leave, were you hiding from something? You are a brilliant writer, but I believe your work suffers because if you were in the world you could get much more inspiration from life of the earth, but, it is not my place to judge. Your writing is still flawless to me and your view of death is quiet realistic. Now I do not wish to do everything that you do, I mean that in a humorous manner. I do not think parents would be very comfortable with a man lowering cookies down to children from his room. So I will leave the neighborhood baking to you Mrs. Dickenson.

Letter to Poe

West Hill Ave. 1321.

5 August 1845.

West Ave. H4 1861.

Dear Mr. Poe.

Author, poet, artist. You are a man of many talents that all revolve around writing. I am writing to you to explain my appreciation I have for your writings, and the concern I have for you as a man.

You are perhaps the author that I have grown to be most the found of. Your outlook on this world and the messages you have conveyed through your works of the pen have left me always wanting to read more. Your gothic style of writing I have found to become my favorite style of writing. Your writings of mystery and horror are where I find the most excitement when it comes to reading. I know this comes from most people in your life dying prematurely, causing your interest in the afterlife. But In each of your stories I have found you always find ways of delicately, methodically placing signs, meanings, and metaphors, into your works of literature in way that the readers will see it right away and need to be truly reading in order to see them.

The tales of mystery and horror that have been bled unto pages from a pen that has wielded by your vast intellect have taken me to places that only words ever could. But as I continue to read your literary works, which are brilliant, they unfortunately are still only about horror and mystery. The reason this arouses a feeling of concern in my mind and soul is that you seem to have a dark train of thought. I am not sure if this is due to your father leaving you, and your mother dying when you were three years old. Or when you gathered debt in school and you were forced to join the military because your foster father who was having affairs on his dying wife refused to help pay your debts. Or your fist love dying when you were fifteen years old .To have a train of thought of darkness is to have a darkness of the soul. To have darkness of the soul is to have lack of light and, the greatest light of them all is the light of Christ. Your writings have given me no inclination that you have a desire to. This concerns me because your sole may be accustomed to dark thoughts in life, but it will not be able to become accustomed the eternal darkness and flames or total damnation that you now face with your lack of faith. I would like to extend to you my prayers for you, in that you may find more joy in life, and the light and love of Christ. I want you to know that life is not all mystery and horror, but joy, love, friendship and time spent with God.

I hope this letter finds you in good health my friend. May you live a long life full of happiness for both you and your wife.

A Word

The poem “A Word” written by Emily Dickenson, is a short poem. But a poem that will make you stop and think. The poem makes me value words a little more, to think that every time I speak a word is dying makes me not want to kill meaningless words. But I do not believe a word is “dead” once spoken. I believe a word lives for that brief moment that it is spoken, and that it’s lasting life will come from how that paticulay word impacts the one who is hearing it. A word is used to translate enotions, and to impact another person. When words are used for a purpose, that, is when they live.

Trumping Sin

Whoever rules on earth, I’ll honor God.

To honor Him is to not break the law.

We are here to show His love through the fog,


not running the streets with a noble façade,

We must accept earthly rulers with flaws.

Whoever rules on earth, I’ll honor God.


To make real change, we must persist and prod,

And constantly pray that cold hearts will thaw.

We are here to show His love through the fog.


To fight, we should use faith, not rocks and rods,

no matter how much the devil may claw.

Whoever rules on earth, I’ll honor God


We should never put our faith in false gods.

Political rivals should never brawl.

We are here to show His love through the fog


of these dark times–no matter how odd.

We must always run to God, never crawl.

Whoever rules on earth, I’ll honor God

We are here to show His love through the fog.


America as a nation, considering how it started, has grown and expanded dramatically. Everything in America has grown and expanded in one way or another: businesses, national parks, ideas, beliefs. Most of the time, this growth is for the better. It is for the better because it helps America and its people become well rounded. Unfortunately in recent years, people have become well rounded and started to grow and expand in an unhealthy manner. So what do some people do to fix this unhealthy lifestyle? They start to work out and eat right. Though working out and eating right will decrease a person’s overall size, there are parts of them that are still growing. These parts are muscles. Muscles are what make people move. So when people workout, their muscles grow – but how? Muscles grow through a three step process: muscle tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress.

In order to get muscles to grow, a person must progressively lift heavier and heavier weights – to put tension on the muscles. Putting tension on the muscles is like setting off an alarm clock to something called “Satellite Cells.” Satellite cells act basically like when people order takeout food. The satellite cell is a person, and the body is the fast-food joint. The cell orders the specific nutrients and ingredients it needs to start building muscle mass, and lifting heavier weights is like a growing appetite in a person that makes them order more things from the fast food joint. As the weight-lifting increases appetite, the cell orders more food, and the body delivers. But it is not just muscle tension that is needed. Muscle damage contributes to the process.

Muscle damage is as simple as it sounds. When working out, the process of muscle tension is taking place; and when tension is being put on the muscles, they begin to tear. The tears are like two cliffs in the muscle – and how are two cliffs crossed between? By making strong bridges to connect the two sides. In this case, the bridges are smaller strands of muscle, and there are hundreds of these strands of muscles stretching out to connect and heal the tear. Once the gap is sealed, a reinforcement of pure muscle grows over the new bridge to cover it – like a scab on a cut. That is when muscles start to “build” because muscle is being added.

The final phase of building muscle is “metabolic stress.” Metabolic stress is when a bunch of healing cells rush in around the muscle to help heal a tear. Some people have a lot more cells, so this means the muscle is healed from the damage but not made stronger – it is just reinforced in a bulky manner. This is why someone could have a thin physique and still could be much stronger than a bulky bodybuilder. This process is known as “sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.” But this only occurs when someone has too many cells rushing at once. Normally, an average number of cells will heal muscles and increase in size steadily.

People have started to grow and expand in an unhealthy manner and when they workout, they want to both lose weight and gain muscle. Muscle gain happens through muscle tension (putting tension on the muscles by lifting weights), muscle damage (when the muscle is torn by the tension), and metabolic stress (when the healing cells come in and fix the damage). This process is something that takes place in the human body every time someone works out to gain muscle. People should be informed before they workout so they will understand how to be safe and sure of what they are doing to their bodies. This what the Bible has to say about the human body: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). If the body is a temple for God, then it must be maintained. It would be a great day for American citizens to be the “biggest” in the world because of their muscles rather than the opposite.

The Survivors

So many people, so many styles, so many things, and so many differences. But not just differences, similarities as well. There are many differences in this world, people are different than one another, styles are different than one another, and movies are different than one another as well. Some movies can have completely different stories and ideals but some are more alike than others. Two movies of interesting comparison are the 1982 version of First Blood, and the 2002 The Bourne Identity. In both movies, the reasons the protagonists are being hunted, how the protagonists reacted to their situation, and how they resolved the conflict are the same, yet the movies are notably different films.

The conflict in First Blood is how the protagonist, John Rambo, a retired Green Berea, is chased into the forest near a small town and fights off an army of police and rangers. He is forced to use all of his survival skills to stay alive. The conflict began because when he entered the small town to visit a friend he knew from the Vietnam War. After finding out that his friend was dead, he starts walking into town to eat. The sheriff notices how he is dressed (a tattered military coat) and says he will give Rambo a ride. Instead of dropping him off near food in town, the sheriff drops him off on the edge of town and tells him that he does not like drifters. When Rambo starts making his back into town anyway, the sheriff arrests him. Back at the station, when the sheriff and other deputies start abusing Rambo, they trigger a flashback of Vietnam and his experiences as a prisoner-of-war. So Rambo panics, fights off the deputies, and escapes into the forest – where the conflict escalates.

In The Bourne Identity, the conflict is that the protagonist, Jason Bourne, fights off a constant barrage of assassins that believe he is going to release details about the CIA to the public. The movie starts with an Italian fishing boat finding a man (later revealed to be Jason Bourne) floating in the water. They pull him onto the boat and discover three gunshot wounds in his back. While they are stitching him up, he awakens and has no idea where or who he is. He jumps off the boat, swims to land, and slowly makes his way to different locations that he has no recollection of but just feels he must go. It does not take long for the CIA to spot him. They thought he had been killed since he was missing for a few weeks (the time spent on the fishing boat). The CIA thinks Bourne faked his death to elude them, and they begin to pursue to kill him so that he will not pose a security threat with his extensive knowledge of their workings. The trauma of being shot in the beginning of the film gave him amnesia, so when he is attacked by the CIA assassins, he automatically reacts with high level fighting skills – but he does not understand how, because according to him, he is just a regular person that has forgotten their name / recent memories. Eventually, certain CIA memories start to come back to him and he embraces his skills to fight off the assassins more efficiently.

The movies are similar because both protagonists are pursued by law enforcement organizations even though they are innocent. Although Bourne does have to fight off a small army like Rambo, his conflict is not limited to just the forest. He is constantly on the run, fighting in suburban landscapes and intense car chases. The two protagonists differ in that Rambo was a retired Green Berea, while Bourne is an active member of a special CIA project known as “Tread Stone.” In both movies, Rambo and Bourne are extreme survivalists and very skilled fighters/sharpshooters. Both men single handedly take on small armies and skilled assassins. Where they differ is how they reacted. Rambo reacted with his skills but because he felt forced into fighting back. He was simply visiting a friend when the police started to harass him and he fought back after war memories were triggered. Rambo fought to survive. Later in the movie, it is revealed that Rambo was specially trained as a high-ranking military survivalist and assassin. Bourne, on the other hand, also fights back to defend himself but he does not know how he is able to do so due to the amnesia. Both Bourne and Rambo fight off their attackers with skills they have acquired through extensive training: one man does so out of his own conscious choice and reason while the other does it out of instinct without understanding how.

Like all conflict, it has to end at some point. Both men are skilled soldiers and fighters, they both fight off small armies single handedly, and they both find a way to solve the conflict. How they do so, is different. In First Blood, the conflict is resolved when Rambo makes his final assault on the sheriff station, resulting in a shootout with the sheriff that started it all. Rambo wins and is about to kill the sheriff when he hears the front door open. It is colonel Trautman, one of the men who trained him as a soldier. Trautman tells Rambo to surrender and Rambo tells him how he can no longer handle going back to normal life in the city; how he was once entrusted to take lives and now he is not even trusted to park cars. Trautman tells Rambo that he can not fight forever, Rambo agrees, they exit the building, and Rambo is arrested. On the other hand, Bourne did not leave a building quietly. He also engages in a shootout, but after regaining some memories, he finds the man that has ordered him to be assassinated and tells him that he will let him live if he stops trying to find him. Then Bourne leaves the building and the country.

Both Bourne and Rambo were skilled soldiers, both were hunted, and both fought back. How and why they did so differs, though. Rambo was hunted because the sheriff did not like his “drifter” look. Bourne was hunted because he was believed to have gone rogue and had to fight for his life while having no memories to understand the context of his situation. Both of the men resolved the conflict, but Rambo did so by surrendering and going to prison while Bourne did so by forcing his hunter to leave him alone and leaving the country. Some movies, like First Blood and The Bourne Identity can have similar plots but still be totally different stories in setting, mood, and ending. That is what makes going to the movies so interesting and addicting.