Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 10:50:47 -0400 (EDT)
It's real early in the morning, about 4:45 a.m., and I'm in a pensive mood. As I was pounding the pre-dawn pavement, I was thinking about comments our Vice-President for Academic Affairs sincerely and excitedly at our beginning-of-the-year meeting urging the faculty to think about how to reach out to other departments and colleges of the university in an effort to create a university-wide learning community that would overcome the unnatural atomistic division of knowledge into distinct and separated disciplines and colleges.
As the day passed, I had a conversation or two with a few colleagues standing around in the halls or over some coffee and heard a host of unenthusiastic comments, caught a equal lack of exicitment with the prospect of getting into the classroom and being with the students, read a few e-mail messages discussing whether professors are getting worse, and read quite a few e-mail "wish" messages in which the writers asked the genie that their colleagues bemoan less what students are and proclaim more a honest belief in what students can be.
I really think there is a saddness, maybe an immorality, that transcends discipline and teaching style, when there are people on our campuses--far too many--who enter and leave a classroom as if it were an third world country to which they see no responsibility for enrichment where there is a poverty of spirit and nourishish where there is a starving for caring, who heartlessly devalue students as nusances, who coldly discount students as distractions, who callously disrepect the sanctity and dignity of each student's humanity, who nonchalantly disregard the full potential that lies in each student, who adamantly refuse to believe other than that the students are there for them, who are so focused on their subject and scholarly pursuits they seldom attempt to lovingly and caringly embrace the humanity of each student in the classroom, who angrily refuse to accept that they are frail humans just like the students, who violate the golden rule and demand of students what they do not demand of themselves or feel others shouldn't demand of them, who selfishly elevate themselves by lowering students, and who refuse to see--or can't see--that their greatest mission, is to touch each student's spirit, open the treasure chest of each student's soul, and reveal to the world the magnificant brilliance of the content within.
I guess being called a professor does not mean someone is an educator. I guess "professor" is too often is a place rather than a state of being. And, I guess, a string of degrees, a lengthy scholarly resume, a great reputation do not automatically translate into wisdom, selflessness, compassion, sensitivity, understanding, and love. It is sad. These people are missing so much. They don't know what it feels like to really make a difference in someone's life. Oh, well, thanks for letting me "dump" on ya.
Make it a good day. --Louis-- Louis Schmier (912-333-5947) email@example.com Department of History /~\ /\ /\ Valdosta State University /^\ / \ / /~ \ /~\__/\ Valdosta, Georgia 31698 / \__/ \/ / /\ /~ \ /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\ -_~ / "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\ _ _ / don't practice on mole hills" -\____