Monday, June 23, 2014

Blog #8

What can we learn about teaching and learning from Randy Pausch?

First off, the video that I have acquired my answer from is one of the most inspiring videos I have ever watched. Please watch it here.

Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch was a man who lived a life that consisted of almost all of his childhood dreams lived out in some way (even if it was a roundabout way). His lecture, "Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", taught me so many things on what it means to be an efficient learner and an inspiring teacher. To really show what exactly I got out of his lecture, let me explain four of my favorite quotes from Randy.

1. "When you're screwing up and no one is saying anything to you anymore, that's when they've given up."

This quote specifically hit me hard. I feel like I have been a victim of this many times in my schooling career. I have never been a great student as far as grades go thanks to mild test anxiety. I feel like teachers gave up on me after a while because even though I made a visible effort in class, I could never perform adequately on tests. I don't want to be that teacher. I want to be a teacher who sees students struggle, and do my very best to find a way to help students overcome that struggle.

2. "Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things."

Randy said many things about brick walls, but I found that this particular quote held the most truth (I may even have to put this on the wall in my future classroom). If we want something bad enough, we should stop at nothing to get to it. I feel like it is a teacher's obligation to instill this mindset into their students. How are we to create a productive generation if we don't teach them the benefits of not giving up?

3. "There's a good way and bad way of saying I don't know."

Randy gave many examples of this happening in his lifetime. He talked about how he had this idea that he wanted to go through at the school he was working at. At first, he asked his supervisor if he thought it was a good idea. His supervisor said, without a second thought, that he did not like the idea and that Randy needed to find an alternative. Randy then decided to go to the Dean for a second opinion, and the dean told him that he didn't have enough information to give an answer, but he wanted to find out more. They both said the same thing, but the way the dean said it was more encouraging and uplifting. It is important that all students are treated this way, because if they see that their teachers can't even support their ideas (no matter how crazy), what makes them think that anyone else will outside of school?

4. "You don't know where the bar would be, and you're doing them a disservice by putting it anywhere."

Randy taught a Virtual Reality class at Carnegie. On his first assignment he ever assigned in that class, the students returned with products beyond his imagination. He had no idea what he was to do next because he felt like the students had already gone above and beyond. He consulted with his mentor, and his mentor told him the words above. These words should be lived out by all teachers. Teachers should never think their students have hit their limits, because with the proper poking and prodding, we would be surprised at what exactly students can achieve.

Randy said many more inspiring words that I feel like I could talk for days about. Overall, Randy taught me that, to be an efficient learner, I need to think outside of the box and not be afraid to get out of my comfort zone every once in a while. He also taught me that, to be an inspiring teacher, I need to encourage and push students to do things they never thought they could possibly do.


  1. Amazing job! Keep up the great work!

  2. This was the most inspiring video assigned to us to watch for EDM 310. There were so many things to write about from this video and I think you picked great points. He was an extremely inspiring man.