Hi there! My name is Tim Hayes and as you might have noticed I have cunningly revealed that I’m a bit of a Star Wars geek though my geekdom is not solely restrained to that definition (I actually enjoy Shakespeare if you can believe that). I am just starting out my first semester of grad school and I can already feel the extra work load ramping up which puts me somewhere between excited and terrified. I have been writing stories (and bad poems) since my senior year of high school and all thanks to a teacher who showed me writing need not be the mindless droning chore my previous years of experience had taught me. I am in my fourth semester leading English 30 workshops and I have to admit that I’ve learned more about writing from those workshops than the students did. But I guess that’s the way these things work. Teaching Eng 130 is the first step to a destination I’m not sure of. You could say I’ve entered the rabbit hole without knowing how deep it goes.
When last we met the Dewey conversation struck something in my mind. I’ve been trying to form my thoughts into words that make sense so bear with me. For a Dewey classroom we need a space conducive to collaboration as well as for students to work and explore on their own. I am drawn to the TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson concerning changing the educational paradigm. If our current educational system is built on an outdated belief about learning (that being the idea of education brought on by the Industrial Revolution) then perhaps Dewey is talking about a classroom wholly alien to our current set up. This fascinates me as I begin to dream up what my syllabus will look like. I have this super fun futuristic idea of what teaching can become and at the same time another part of me is looking back on my experience in Eng 30 and the one hundred hours or so I spent in a high school English classroom. That part of me remembers the blank eyed stares that the words “what do you think?” brought bubbling up like some sulfuric spring. As with any paradigm shift there is going to be not only kick back but confusion. How do I temper my desire to see a completely new version of education with the practical world not bringing me crashing back to reality? I’m anxious to find the little victories for the dreamers. And, if I’m honest, it all comes down to my own life experience. If I can create that place where a kid who never really liked writing suddenly discovers that even research papers have their room for creativity then maybe I’ll turn a few more minds to this wonderful tortuous effort.
So I’m one of those I guess, a gorilla fighter for radical change to our educational system. At least a gorilla fighter in training. I’m looking forward to not only what I can discover and understand but what we can, as a group, unpack about learning and all that it means to help that learning along.
On a side note, that book is real. I own it. I’ve read it. And it is verily amazing.