Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
The Randy Pausch videos assigned in EDM 310 have, quite possibly, been the most influential assignments, to me, so far. I love Dr. Pausch's zeal for life and his effort to be inspirational. He is a man with every reason to be down or upset, yet he focuses on the positive things in life and reaches out and encourages others to do the same. I believe that if we all took a glimpse at Dr. Pausch's life and aspired to develop at least one of his good qualities then the world may look a little brighter. In his last lecture, Dr. Pausch displayed his positivity and courage even as he reached the end of his ever-meaningful life.
Randy Pausch, being the brilliant man that he was, accomplished so much in his life. From being a renowned professor to a Disney Imagineer, he achieved goals that many of us could never dream of. We could easily feel sympathy towards Dr. Pausch, seeing that he was sick, however, I don't believe that he wanted people to feel pity for him. He was a firm believer in living life to it's fullest potential and stretching its boundaries. In watching Dr. Pausch's last lecture and the previous lectures assigned, I have gained a new outlook on life. I've always thought that I was a positive person, and I still believe that I am, but I haven't always been willing to push the envelope. As teachers, we can gain a great deal from listening to and receiving Dr. Pausch's words of wisdom. It is so important as we gain our own classrooms to be positive and encouraging to our students and to keep our minds open just as he encourages others to do.
Dr. Pausch, a seasoned professor, stressed the importance of pushing your students. He said that he was teaching once and realized all of his students were meeting requirements but were not excelling as he would have liked. He then asked a mentor for help and his mentor said, in essence, instead of raising the bar, do not set a bar. This is so true! If you give students a bar, most will rise to it, but will not always go above and beyond. I think, in my future classroom, I will encourage students to step outside of the box. There is always room for greater, always another star to shoot for. Like Dr. Pausch, I do not believe that we can discourage that!
Another point that Dr. Pausch made that I found to be quite simple, yet profound, is the concept of the "head fake". The "head fake" is the notion of indirect learning and Dr. Pausch says that most learning is, in fact, indirect. I, honestly, had never really pondered on indirect learning but Dr. Pausch so eloquently encourages the "head fake" as does Dr. Strange. Both of these men believe in giving assignments that emphasize stepping outside of our own personal boundaries and they push their students to do their best even if it is a little uncomfortable. Dr. Pausch's quote, "Brick walls are there for a reason; they let us prove how badly we want things," is so true. Sometimes as students, as teachers in the future, or even in everyday life, we will face "brick walls". Overcoming these walls will only make us stronger. My favorite quote is, "Always shoot for the stars; even if you miss you will land among the clouds." This isn't a quote from Dr. Pausch, to my knowledge at least, but I believe that it does correspond with Dr. Pausch's ideas. Aiming high has two outcomes: you can achieve your goals, or you can learn something along the way. I believe that I will try my best to encourage my students based on the notion of the "head fake" when they believe that they have failed. There is always something good that can come when you look at things positively and I believe children should be taught this at a young age.
I do think that I could go on and on when writing about Dr. Pausch; I find him to be fascinating! I can only imagine how his own students felt about him. Even though there are many, many things we can take from Dr. Pausch, what I gained most from him is to simply be the best "you" that you can be. He says that we choose to be a "Tigger or an Eeyore" meaning that we choose to be happy, bouncy, and fun, like Tigger, or we could be mopey and down-in-the-dumps like Eeyore. I want my peers, coworkers, family, and especially my students to see me as a Tigger. Just a few of the lessons that Dr. Pausch says that he learned throughout life are:
"Do the right thing"
"Don't complain; just work harder" and
"Find the best in everyone"
I think that if we do these things and live by Dr. Pausch's words as rules and guidelines to life and teaching then we have no reason to fail. Always be encouraging and uplifting to your students and watch how they blossom. Push students to aim higher. Dr. Pausch himself said, "One of the best gifts and educator can give is to get someone to be reflective." I know I will try my hardest to push students to learn on their own and to reflect on their own hard work. Dr. Pausch's aspiring life and words of profound, yet simple, wisdom would make us all better teachers, better students, better parents, and ultimately better people.