Randy Paush's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch died on July 25, 2008, of pancreatic cancer. Before his death he made his last lecture. His last lecture was very inspiring to me, and I learned that no matter what happens to me in life I cannot change what comes my way. However, I can change how I react to the situations that I am dealt in life. If any of you bloggers have not watched his last lecture yet, I highly encourage you to take the time to watch it.
In his last lecture he talked about his childhood dreams, how to enable the dreams of others, and the lessons he had learned. As a child, Randy did a lot of dreaming. A few of his childhood dreams were to be in zero gravity, play in the NFL, and to become an imagineer. Although Randy never made it to the NFL, I loved how he interpreted his football career. He believed that football helped get him through life because of the fundamentals he learned and the hard work his coach instilled in him.
Randy said, "Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." This quote not only gives me a better outlook on my life, but it also instills in me an approach to teaching and parenting that I want to use one day. Learning from your experiences is what Randy called "head fake" learning. "Head fake" learning occurs when children learn indirectly. For example, in football, students are "head fake" learning how to be group adaptable and the importance of teamwork and dependability.
In my future classroom, I believe that is important that I incorporate "head fake" learning. Sports and extra curricular activities are a great way for students to "head fake" learn, but group projects can help them to learn how to be a part of a team as well. I want my students to learn how to adapt to any kind of group. Whether they are the leader, recorder, discusser, creative mind, or even the participator, each student can contribute their part to the group. This is important to me because we all have to learn to adapt to different groups in the real world.
Another great quote that Randy mentioned when he talked about his childhood dreams was, "Brick walls are there for a reason: They let us prove how badly we want something." This was evident when Randy achieved his childhood dream of becoming an imagineer. In order to be a part of the Aladdin Project, Randy was a cap cleaner. Although this job was not the job he had dreamed of, it still gave him a chance to be a part of the Aladdin Project. He did not have to have a high job in this project to be influenced. Just by working with the crew, he saw how the Aladdin Project brought together artists and engineers.
After learning about the Aladdin Project and seeing how the artists and engineers had to work together, only made it more clear to me that I really need to influence "head fake" learning in my classroom. Both of these professions are very different. They think with different sides of the brain, and therefore, they do not think a like. It is what the two professions can create together that makes them adapt to each other. This is another reason why I will make sure to incorporate a lot of group activities or projects into my lesson plans. It is important to allow students to think off of each other and build new ideas with different personalities because you never know who they will have to work with one day.
Another topic that Randy Pausch touched on was on to enable the childhood dreams of others. He told viewers about the ways that he had learned to help others through his on teaching. One of the most important aspects that stood out to me that he said was, "You have to the set the bar high for your students and do not settle for less." The reason he said this was because he had assigned his students a project and was not really impressed with their work. Although he was not impressed with their work, he did not think their work was bad either. In conclusion, he ended up telling his class, "Your projects were pretty good, but I know you can do better."
This idea really stood out to me, and I plan to use it my classroom one day. If you really think about it, teachers determine the outcome of their students abilities to a certain level. I know that some students will decide for themselves if they do not listen or put forth effort, but what about the students who do what teachers ask of them? How will these students know they are not doing the best they can unless we challenge them? I really saw a different outlook on how I should teach just by knowing that I will be the one setting the bar of achievement.
The last topic Randy talked about was the lessons he had learned in life. He said that he had learned from his parents, mentors, and students. I agree with every part of this because your parents are the ones who guide you through the first eighteen years of your life. Mentors are also there helping you through childhood and then again when you are no longer living with your parents. Later in life when you become a teacher you learn from your students. I am a strong believer that teachers can learn just as much from the students as the students learn from them.
Some the advice Randy left listeners with was to respect authority while questioning it, loyalty is a two way street, never give up, and to help others. He also said that there are ways to get people to help you. The first step is to believe that you cannot make it alone. Next tell the truth and be earnest. And lastly he said to apologize when you mess up and focus on others, not yourself.
I honestly believe anyone can learn from these steps. We need the support of others through life, and it is not possible to make it without a little help along the way. As a future teacher, I will practice these steps at the school in which I work in because I know that I will need help from my colleagues. Also, I want to continue to put others first in my life. As a child I remember learning that key to living a joyful life was to put Jesus first, then Others, and then Yourself.
As a future teacher, it is my goal to help each and every student that comes my way to develop into the best adult that they can be. I know that in order to achieve this goal I will need help from others, and I will not be able to complain. Instead of complaining I will only push harder. As I help these students, I will achieve my dream of becoming the teacher that students will remember.