How has your education benefited you? January 18, 2006 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Educated MeFites: (This is for my wife who teaches at an inner-city elementary school.)

Would anyone be willing to write a "properly written" paragraph about how your education has greatly benefited you?

We would like to inspire our 5th graders, most of whom believe that learning isn't cool. This is for English language learners, ie. Mexican, Vietnamese, Eastern European, etc, who are just now learning paragraphs and the need for further education.

Post here or my e-mail is in my profile.

Disclaimer: Meta-related because you folks are cool and smart. This is not a project or an AskMe, unless you suggest otherwise.
posted by snsranch to MetaFilter-Related at 7:53 PM (42 comments total)

I hope you like properly written but bitterly sarcastic paragraphs about the oversold expectations as opposed to the grim realities of the modern educational system in general and the liberal arts in particular, because I predict you will get one or two of them.
posted by yhbc at 7:59 PM on January 18, 2006

Wow, someone's got a case of the Mondays!

On Wednesday, even!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:07 PM on January 18, 2006

Wait, this is meta-related how? Because you're asking Metafilter members? But that's what you get when you... Ask Metafilter.
posted by moift at 8:09 PM on January 18, 2006

Weeel, I was thinking that seeing as how this ain't a project, as much as a MeFi think-tank kinda thing, and how I'm not asking how to fix my toilet, that this might be the place to ask.
Hidey Ho moifit.
posted by snsranch at 8:18 PM on January 18, 2006

Well, I was going to post a nice scathing reply to this, but seeing as how apparently only “educated” members are allowed to respond, I guess I'll just STFU.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:18 PM on January 18, 2006

Oh I know you didn't just call me a ho! *waggles finger*
posted by moift at 8:21 PM on January 18, 2006

tell them is the premier online repository for pictures of dogs in bee costumes.
posted by wakko at 8:42 PM on January 18, 2006

Well, I was going to reply seriously and earnestly.

Then I remembered I'm a high school dropout with no GED. I was also a oh-so-rebelliously straight F student from about first grade onward. I did manage to con my way into a worthless AA degree in commercial design while still in high school.

While I love learning and knowledge like the very air I breath, I'm not a huge fan of education.

Some may call me smart, some have even called me educated.

However, throughout my life I've mainly used my knowledge and education to not die while taking illicit chemicals, have fun with computers and technology, blow things up and meet women for the purposes of companionship, excessive drinking and kinky sex.

That, and navel gaze a whole lot and think too much about things like metaphysics, religion, spirituality, politics, government and the appalling lack of any real refinement or civility in the world.

Occasionally my wits, writing skills and communication skills have also kept me from working shitty burger flipping type jobs. Jobs that have kept me alive for further navel gazing, drinking and art wankery.

Given the sum total of the above, I'm pretty sure I do not embody the qualities desired to tell a bunch of mouthy kids to stay in school in one paragraph. And it's a serious topic that deserves a serious answer.

If I were to write a single paragraph for these wayward kids, it might read something like this:

"Don't get an education for your school, nor for your teachers. Fuck 'em. Get an education for you. Aquiring knowledge is like aquiring tools for your toolbox - except these tools weigh nothing, cost little and can never be lost. Plus they'll get you more money for partying. They'll also help you meet girls or boys to do that partying with. So. Welcome to this fucked up game of life. And get the fuck off my lawn."
posted by loquacious at 8:51 PM on January 18, 2006

loquacious: with just a couple of deletions, that is EXACTLY what I was asking for!!!!! Thank you.
posted by snsranch at 8:58 PM on January 18, 2006

This is not bad.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:00 PM on January 18, 2006

I believe that veryone should have the choice between going to school and getting an education.
posted by jonmc at 9:00 PM on January 18, 2006

FWIW snsranch never graduated from high-school. I'm just trying to be a good dad and a good neighbor.

More imortantly, this is an exercize, unintendedly so, that exposes how complacent and apathetic we have become to things that aren't really our problem. "Education? Yea, right."

It's a sad day today, when nobody cares about some kids who could have learned something from some mefites.

It's especially sad when it appears that I would have had a better response at FARK or Z-Filter or whatever.
posted by snsranch at 9:15 PM on January 18, 2006

At least he asked us and not Farkers
posted by wheelieman at 9:22 PM on January 18, 2006

It's a sad day today, when nobody cares about some kids who could have learned something from some mefites. It's especially sad when it appears that I would have had a better response at FARK or Z-Filter or whatever.

Dude, you just posted this 90 minutes ago, and it's late. It's premature and unfair to accuse everyone here of not caring about these kids just because no one has immediately supplied exactly what you requested.
posted by brain_drain at 9:35 PM on January 18, 2006

brain_drain: you're right. I was just frustrated with the snarky comments.
posted by snsranch at 9:44 PM on January 18, 2006

Actually, I don't know about that, brain_drain. I think it is perfectly fair to complain about the reception this request has garnered, as those who have chosen to respond thus far could all be classified as 'mefi celebs'. Hell, they're probably all cabal members!

Certainly the fact that a bunch of well-known commenters have immediately started snarking and taking the question out of context (Ishmael, I'm looking at you), will doubtless set the tone for the pile-on that is sure to follow.
posted by coriolisdave at 10:18 PM on January 18, 2006

loquacious, I think we were seperated at birth or something. 'Cept I got my GED (and no subsequent degree).
posted by brundlefly at 10:58 PM on January 18, 2006

brain_drain: you're right. I was just frustrated with the snarky comments.

Come around here often? It's the national past time of MetaFilter. You're actually getting snarked on for your honesty. Kind of a shame, because it seems like a noble cause.

IMO, a cleverer way to have achieved what you wanted would have been to ask the question in AskMe, they're a bit nicer over there and snarking is frowned upon. Once you get a great answer, ask for permission to gank it.

Unfortunately, I'm in agreement with coriolisdave, a pile-on is going to ensue. Good luck with your mission, I'm sure somebody will write something good for you.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 10:58 PM on January 18, 2006

I'll be happy to send something to you, tomorrow when I'm (hopefully!) a little less tipsy.

Is there any subject/concept in particular your wife wants to emphasize? Weirdly, I remember 4th and 6th grade extremely well, but I'm a little hazy on what we did in 5th.
posted by occhiblu at 11:04 PM on January 18, 2006

Yeah, if you only want relevant answers post this in AskMe - here we mostly just snark. Also, people who enjoyed their educations are in bed now. Or, uh, in Europe or Asia, hard at work.
posted by nicwolff at 11:50 PM on January 18, 2006

How about - "I pity the fool who don't stay in school!"

No? oh well... back to my Nuclear physics / brain surgery dissertation.
posted by Dag Maggot at 11:55 PM on January 18, 2006

Unless you're doing direct vocational training, further education is a complete fucking waste of time.
posted by cillit bang at 12:24 AM on January 19, 2006

posted by cillit bang at 12:26 AM on January 19, 2006

brundlefly: As much as I thought I was pretty much alone in school, I realize in retrospect this isn't the case.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if my tale was a common one among Mefites.

snsranch, everyone else: That being said, this probably explains the extra strong and quick snarking. Well, that and people like snarking.

While I snarked
in my own way while answering the question - somewhat -
if my tale is not uncommon, it stands to presume
that a lot of MeFi users had, well, less than
public or primary school experiences.

link provided by weapons-grade pandemonium above
sums it up fairly neatly - but fails to ask some important question,
and of course fails to really provide any answers.

Public primary school, however, sucks. I think that that is something many can agree on.

is less about any semblance of real education, and much more about
indoctrination, governmental spin, being a babysitting service and/or
prison and otherwise molding millions of young people - against their
will, no less - into what the state and workplace desires as citizens,
nay, subjects.

Which is a huge, steaming, bitter, frustrating and ultimately sad and worthless pile of steaming horseshit.

I think a little leeway is due when the (summarized) question of "Help explain why kids should stay in school and get an 'education'." is posed, when many think back and experience emotions and sensations of claustrophobia and a strong desire to simply escape.

be clear, I do care about the education of my fellow human beings, both
young and old. I care a lot. The majority of our collective ills stem
directly from a lack of education. My personal future depends upon the
education of those around me - young and old - so that what little
civility we enjoy won't descend into malevolent anarchy, lawlessness
and general stupidity - from our peers, our so-called superiors, and
most importantly, our leaders. (Note: Malevolent anarchy, not altruistic, sociable anarchy.)

what can I do? For a number of reasons, I'm a marginalized, fringe
element. Even if it weren't for a quantity of generally frowned upon or
outright criminalized activities, I am and would be considered an odd duck if only for the viewpoints expressed in this thread alone.

would like nothing more than to be able to just hang out with some kids
and rap with them about life, the universe and everything - if it
weren't for the fact that I'd immediately be suspected of being
criminally minded. I'd love to help teach kids what I know - if it were
possible for society to judge me simply by my interactions with them
and my intent to do no harm - rather than for what pastimes I may
partake of in the privacy of my own home.

Welcome to the United
States of Salem, Puritanical fear factory, land of the repressed, the
paranoid, the overly busy and the ultimately self-negating.

I'm left with attempting to educate adults young and old as I can, as
time and opportunity allows whenever appropriate or asked for, and I
often find there's 'education' to be undone before I can even move forward.

a fellow in his late 50s or 60s that's almost always just sitting in
the sun at my bus stop on my way to work. For some reason, out of the
blue, he started asking me questions about space - something he read or
saw on the news. It took three separate
days of about 15 minutes each just to explain that our own Sun was but
a star (more or less) the same as the stars in the night sky - just
closer. We're now working on the concept that there's billions and
billions of stars, just in our galaxy alone. I don't know if we'll ever
move beyond galaxies into the concept of millions of galaxies.

not frustrating, nor haughty nor forced. It's pleasant. But it's a
clear example of what many or most of us here would take for granted -
and probably not uncommon at all.

A commonly suggested solution to my knowledge-sharing frustrations is "Become a teacher! You'd be good at it!"

No. School sucks. There's no way in hell I could participate in a
system that I loathed so much as a child, a system that was likely much
worse then it was when I was trapped within it. And every single person
I personally know that has trained and planned to be a teacher has
dropped out or quit - for reasons apparent as described here and
elsewhere. Not a good track record.

So, I do what I'm willing and able to do.

That's not apathy. That's choosing your battles in the face of a momentous juggernaut.
posted by loquacious at 12:28 AM on January 19, 2006

Arrrrrf? Well, hell-o there, random bugs from the beta spellchecker. Thank you for slicing my rant up into broken verse prose.
posted by loquacious at 12:33 AM on January 19, 2006

And here I thought you were writing a poem about the wonders of an eductation.
posted by Iamtherealme at 1:08 AM on January 19, 2006

Wow, that's just too funny to NOT follow with a comment. That's what I get for not going to college to further my eductation.
posted by Iamtherealme at 1:09 AM on January 19, 2006

(fleacircus assumes the form of a Korean parent)

It's good to learn history, so that you know why things are the way they are. It's good to read literature because a great story told well is an addition to your own experience; it's like trying on a different life. It's good to learn how to write in different voices because no one listens if you can't talk to them right. It's good to learn mathematics so that you know there are correct answers that have nothing to do with your emotions or ability to bullshit, and so that you see that thinking hard and abstractly can get you somewhere surprising.

You can learn all of these things outside of school—hell, you can fail to learn them even if you go. But without someone there to grade you, you'd probably just masturbate and play Nintendo all day (you might try anyway). If you self-educate you can't see your own progress. And you have no one to share it with. And you might feel your whole life that you ran away from a challenge. You might get a whole section of your brain taken up with insecurity and wind up some old fox who still talks about the sour grapes, making fart noises whenever someone who managed to reach them tries to talk. Or you might adopt a stylish yet tedious convinction that you're a super-special outsider genius destined for fame and fortune if only your lazy brain can stumble on that one easy idea. It's an okay life, if you can keep yourself properly amused, sedated, entertained. Maybe you can make it work, like maybe you can be an NBA star if you just shoot some baskets whenever you feel like it, between beers.

You might be forced to think certain things to defend that juvenile, uneducated choice you made years ago, things that make you less of a good and reasonable person. Beware of that.

(fleacircus returns to natural form of semiliterate beer-swiller, disavows, runs)
posted by fleacircus at 1:59 AM on January 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by loquacious at 2:14 AM on January 19, 2006

I think this is a great question, and snsranch's wife is doing her students a big service by teaching them more than just English grammar. I've e-mailed my paragraph to snsranch, and I hope more MeFites will do the same. It's a small investment of time that could make a big difference in somebody's life.
posted by yankeefog at 2:55 AM on January 19, 2006

Worst haiku ever, loquacious.
posted by Joeforking at 4:44 AM on January 19, 2006

good question, great service, but this doesn't belong here. Try Metachat.
posted by crunchland at 5:56 AM on January 19, 2006

I'm also not a HS graduate, but did get a GED. That part was easy. The part where I decided I wanted a real income and had to go back to school nights, that sucked. It gets harder and harder to go to school as you get older. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stuck with the normal program, instead of pushing a new path through the snowdrifts.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:22 AM on January 19, 2006

Just emailed you my own.

And for what it's worth, I think this does belong here rather than AskMe or MeCha. As careful as many of us are with grammar and such on these boards, most posts do not quite meet the criteria for "grammatically correct" that I'm guessing snsranch's wife needs, and the responses he's likely to get at either place would likely end up being a bit useless.
posted by occhiblu at 8:24 AM on January 19, 2006

This is probably a real concern - when airheads like scarlet johansen and lindsey lohan make millions for warming the casting couch, kids need hard drinking writers to set them free.

It's just that none of them are on tv.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:07 AM on January 19, 2006

I'm not sure it's possible to improve on fleacircus's comment.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:23 AM on January 19, 2006

you'd probably just masturbate and play Nintendo all day

At the same time?
posted by brundlefly at 9:56 AM on January 19, 2006

Learnin' things never taught me nothin'.
posted by jonmc at 10:17 AM on January 19, 2006

brundlefly: "At the same time?"

I don't want to think how sticky the controller must get.
posted by mystyk at 3:46 PM on January 19, 2006

It's difficult to follow up after having been kind of a pussy last night. I'm really happy with how this thread turned out.

loquascious and others pointed out something very important about the quest for knowledge, which might be the most important thing the students learn from this; Our whole lives are about learning, that's how we survive. Being earnest, eager and curious about the world is necessary for life in or out of the classroom.

Thanks to all. There is enough deep sentiment, humor and knowledge in this thread for me to write a book for those guys. (After some editing, f-words and talk of masturbation are discouraged in 5th grade.)
posted by snsranch at 5:06 PM on January 19, 2006

(fleacircus assumes the form of a Korean parent)

That's an incredibly forgiving view of most of the Korean parents with whom I've interacted (not Korean myself, though) in the decade since I first came to Korea.

I'd paint it in darker tones: "work, grind, compete, excel, or you will not be rich or powerful. Not being rich or powerful means you lose. Study and never stop studying, regardless of how much you actually learn, because the single most important event of your life will be the university entrance exam, which will grant you entrance to one of the handful of schools that will allow you to meet the right people, form jeong relationships with them, find a spouse at or above your own station, and so become rich and powerful. Do not make the mistake of cherishing education for its intrinsic value (no matter how society pretends to praise that), but for what it can get you. If you disappoint your parents in this, you will bring shame to your family and your ancestors, and you will be worthless, at least until you can reproduce, which will redeem you to a degree, because you can then push those children to succeed where you have failed."

Only partially parody.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:24 PM on January 19, 2006

Yeah, about 1% parody, stavros. The rest is dead on.
posted by dg at 11:38 PM on January 19, 2006

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