Ready Player One: Review

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Publisher: Broadway Books, An Imprint of Crown Publishing

Paperback Edition Published June 5, 2012

This Edition:

First, some notes about this edition. IT IS LOVELY AND I ADORE IT. I am going to buy myself a copy of this edition, as I originally read it when I checked it out from the library. It smells divine, and it has great pages, and I like the cover art more than the other editions. DON’T JUDGE ME I have a thing about how the paper is. :P

Other Works by Ernest Cline:

Currently, Mr. Cline has no other published novels. He has a book called Armada coming out in 2015, which I have read advance synopses, etc., on Goodreads. It seems to be fairly similar to the ideas behind Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. However, I’d read anything by this guy, especially something else about video games, so I’m in.

Rating: 

Based on my system, which is:

1 star= Fiery Loathing

2 stars= Boring As Hell

3 stars= Facebook Like

4 stars= Fangirl-Level Obsession

5 stars= Idol Worship

This book falls at a 4.75, between Fangirl-Level Obsession and Idol Worship. This is a book which I would actually reread, which I don’t do often.

Review: 

The only qualm I had with this book was a little bit of a political agenda in the beginning of the book, however, it was light enough and true enough so as not to bother me.

Seriously, this book is impeccable. It’s engaging, no… enthralling. NO. Enrapturing. It sucks you completely into the world, which is elucidated in such a way so that the reader is completely engaged with the thrills of OASIS, the fears of the evil corporation IOI, and the worries of a society going rapidly downhill.

The book brings all my favorite things together: a book that examines 80s culture (which is incredibly relevant for us 90s kids), the history of gaming, the technology of video games, and a cultural prediction of a tech-driven society’s inevitable outcomes.

The author is incredibly knowledgeable, and allows the reader to fully understand the technology involved, while still giving a remarkably realistic picture of this plausible future dystopian world.

Ernest Cline is brilliant. Ready Player One is fabulous. That is all.

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Object Lessons

Introducing Object Lessons: Our New Feature 

The best things in life definitely aren’t things. They’re stories. They’re memories. And oftentimes objects are the touchstones that bring those memories and stories to our minds, like magic. So, when we take the time to look at the objects in our lives and remember their stories, we ccan find beauty in mundanity, and lessons in objects.

Each week, I’ll journal about an object in my bedroom, it’s provenance, it’s story, it’s memories, and maybe a lesson.

Object: A bouquet of plastic daisies, white and beige, wrapped in a pink ribbon tied in a bow.

When: September 14, 2013; my best friend’s wedding

Why: It was my maid of honor bouquet, and it matched the bride’s wedding colors impeccably: white, beige, and neon coral.

I Wore: A neon coral lace dress with a heart-shaped cutout in the back, with cowboy boots. I forgot to wear a convertible bra, so the other girls had to yank down my straps the whole time. But another bridesmaid and high school friend did my makeup and hair, and I seriously looked hot.

Where: Jared’s grandparent’s backyard, under a big tree, with a view of the Columbia River. Standing between my best friend: the bride, and my co-maid-of-honor. My boyfriend sat in the third row back, on the right of the aisle, smiling at me. And my best friend and her husband got married , with me, melting in my leather boots, holding my bouquet and hers in my shaking hands.

Lesson: No matter what, no matter where they are, no matter how far apart, despite fights and getting married and graduating high school and everything that comes with life, true friends will always, ALWAYS, be there for each other.

Love you, Tor<3

Why Cheat? A Sociological Analysis of Academic Dishonesty in America

According to a study conducted by McCabe and Trevino, 70% of college students self-report at least one instance of cheating in the preceding academic term or semester.  This number reflects the growing epidemic of academic dishonesty in our school system. Conservative estimates place the percentage of high school or college-age cheaters at 63%[1], while more expansive researchers have indicated a number as high as 95%.[2] Not only is the proportion of students who engage in this behavior sky-high, it seems to be getting even higher. A study by McCabe and Bowers found that over a thirty-year period, instances of females cheating had increased from 50% to 70%.[3] (Men began high, and stayed high, which led some researchers to posit that the entrance of women into competitive fields led to the spike in cheating, which will be discussed here further.) Cheating, defined by the Random House Dictionary as “to practice fraud of deceit; to violate rules or regulations,”[4] negatively affects students in various ways, all of which have long-term consequences. Some of the most detrimental are “occupational incompetence,”[5] underachieving, and perceived untrustworthiness, which all influence one’s future quality of life enormously. The origins for such behaviors are many, and it is particularly hard to isolate just a few as being the most causative. However, when we consider this pressing issue from a sociological perspective, various conclusions can be made. Two of the three main theories of sociology can each be used to understand a strand in the roots of the problem, which hereafter will be referred to as “Everybody’s Doing It” and “I Have To,” which are seen through a microsociological lens, and “It’s NOT Wrong,” which is seen through a structural functionalist one. But the underlying cause of both of these (and many more) can be seen most certainly through a stratification, or chaos theory, viewpoint.

Education as an institution was originally set up to mirror the underlying economic model at the time, that being capitalism. Students are thereby treated as commodities, and grouped according to the educational version of exchange value. In order to be viewed as having greater exchange value, students, particularly those with lower cultural capital, are forced to cheat in order to succeed. This reflects the fundamental flaw in the system: that, in viewing students as commodities, it emphasizes an extrinsic motivation, which eliminates the love of learning that is naturally present in children. This rise in extrinsic motivation further exacerbates the problem, as kids with this motivation style (versus intrinsic motivation), have been shown to cheat more. Finally, in the face of such rampant cheating, the educational institution fails in its vital function of latency by neglecting to regulate the behavior sufficiently. By applying a sociological analysis to each of these problems (education as capitalist system, emphasis on extrinsic motivation, and lack of regulation), a unified picture of the major flaws in our education system becomes clear.

One of the most important sociological concepts is that of stratification theory. Stratification, or chaos, theory, is a view which examines the ways in which society groups people according to differences, whether they be class, race, or gender. In our society, the function by which we are stratified is the class system. The class system is a classification system in which people are grouped according to economic well-being. The only way to move between or within classes is social mobility, which is a change in social position, either vertically or horizontally. People who have less status on the social ladder are often said to lack cultural capital, which is “a resource that includes what we know and what we prefer.”[6] Often, those with less of this resource are found in the lower classes. Along with our class system, the other unifying structure is that of capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system that emphasizes competition among individuals and companies as the best way to strengthen the economy. Capitalism ranks objects by exchange value, which is a value placed on an object based on the price the object can get on a market. Those items which are bought and sold based on their exchange values are viewed as commodities. All of these terms are incredibly important when it comes to academic dishonesty, although some imagination is required in the application of the terms to the educational institution. However, the terms are essential to the analysis of cheating, because the institution of education was originally based on the capitalist model.

Since education was based on the capitalist system, it functions in a very specific way. Each students is viewed as a commodity, as something which is only valuable based on its exchange value. When it comes to education, exchange value is the value that is placed on a student based on their future earning potential. The only quantifiable measure of said earning potential is intelligence, which of course is ascertained in schools by student’s grades and academic performance. Since competition is the key to the capitalist system, students are pushed to compete for good grades, which will increase their educational exchange value. Unfortunately, most students, especially those with low cultural capital (who are thereby generally lower class), are forced to cheat in order to achieve the needed performance levels. This is the underlying cause of the academic dishonesty epidemic, and has also spawned two more causes which perpetuate the cheating culture even more.

The first of these is the rationalization “It’s NOT Wrong.” Students (and all of society) engage in a set of behaviors known as neutralizing behaviors. Those students who cheat seem to be particularly adept at this. Neutralizing behaviors are “justifications for deviance that are seen as valid by the delinquent but not by the legal system or society at large.”[7] When students rationalize cheating as something that isn’t harming anyone, or posit that it’s the only way to get a grade, they are neutralizing, and thereby self-legitimatizing, their actions, thereby absolving themselves of guilt. All reasons for cheating could be classified as neutralizing techniques, which students to use to allow them to cheat without guilt. The problem here is that if the student is not aware that he or she is neutralizing, they cannot stop themselves with logic or reason. The conundrum of neutralizing behaviors lies in the fact that one is essentially convincing oneself of the legitimacy of one’s choice to be academically dishonest. Of course, neutralizing behaviors are not developed by a society spontaneously. Structural functionalists would argue that the reason that these behaviors came to be could be analyzed by a structural explanation as to whether education as an institution is meeting its functions as defined by the neofunctionalist school of thought.

A structural explanation is a “type of causal explanation that is specifically designed to account for patterns of human actions and choices.”[8] Structural functionalists, or those sociologists who study society as a set of institutions with specific roles and functions which they must fulfill, are split into two general camps. Functionalists, whose ideas are based off of Parsons’ model AGIL (A being adaptation, G goal attainment, I integration and L latency), differ from neofunctionalists, whose ideas will be utilized here, in two important ways. First, functionalists do not account for the individual within a social structure. Second, while functionalism sees the institutions as a social fact, the emphasis in neofunctionalism is in the constant reform and restructuring of institutions so that they meet their goals consistently. Of particular interest to our discussion of academic dishonesty is the function of the institution of education which deals with consequences for actions; that being latency. Latency is the aspect of society which is responsible for keeping everyone in said society within a certain range of acceptable behavior. In education, this function is filled by both the administration (punishment, definition of what is “ok” and “not ok,” etc.) and the students (regulating “cool” and “not cool” behavior, ostracism of those who deviate from this standard).[9] Neofunctionalists would argue that since cheating is not a socially acceptable behavior, and the institution of education is not fulfilling its function of latency by eradicating it, the institution is responsible for the occurrence of neutralizing behaviors, which allow students to justify their actions easily.

The next cause is “Everybody’s Doing It.” Social norms play a huge part in decision making, especially in the decision to cheat, it seems. University of North Carolina and Duke University psychologists determined that if cheating is perceived to be a “known, somewhat accepted norm,” more students will participate in it.[10] A similar truth is evident in the phenomenon of direct knowledge. A 2005 study by Carrell et al. found that exposure to other students who cheat is a huge factor in the decision of a student to cheat themselves.[11] Therefore, if all your friends cheat, you see them cheating, and it is acceptable in a peer group (i.e. no one terminates a friendship on the grounds of a person engaging in cheating behaviors), members of that peer group are exponentially more likely to cheat. But why do peer groups adopt cheating as an acceptable activity in the first place? Here enters the “I Have To” phenomena.

The “I Have To” cause is linked directly to a student’s source of motivation. If his/her motivation is intrinsic, a student pursues education as a source of knowledge, and not for a grade or to please another person. However, if a person’s motivation is extrinsic, the focus for their work is on getting a good grade, passing, or even just appearing competent. This divide is often expressed as early as elementary school, and grows significantly more pronounced as the personality develops in the secondary and post-secondary realms. A study by Rettinger et al. built on earlier research by Jordan and Newstead addressed this cause for academic dishonesty. The researchers unanimously found that those learners with extrinsic motivation had a significantly higher instance of cheating than those with intrinsic motivation, who just don’t feel the need to cheat.[12]

Some ideas from microsociology can help us better understand this issue. Two sociologists, Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, theorized that society is made up of three main types of culture (cognitive, material, and normative), which are defined and put into common practice by society itself. In essence, the people of a given society create that society and all its workings (ideas, norms, physical objects, beliefs, language) and adopt them as integral parts of that society. Material culture, which this paper does not address, is the physical objects, the “stuff” that we make and use. Cognitive culture is defined as “our mental and symbolic representations of reality,”[13] i.e. religion, belief systems, and how we see the world around us. Normative culture is the rules, the set of behaviors we decide collectively are acceptable in our society; another way to describe this would be social norms. The social construction of reality attempts to elucidate the ways in which culture and society as a whole develops into that which we experience every day. Cognitive culture gives us our values, our systems of right and wrong which we hold universally evident within our society. If a value becomes completely accepted by all, it is considered to be normative. Therefore, the things which we accept as okay, or not morally reprehensible, become social norms to some extent. The significance of this is that it provides us with a set of behaviors, or actions, with which we can protect ourselves from wrongdoing, or that which offends our unique normative sensibilities. One knows when something goes against this framework, and society will swiftly work to rectify this deviance. One example of this is the masculine or feminine body types. Every person in society today is defined as either masculine or feminine. This has nothing to do with physiology, and everything to do with the norms regarding what is girly and what is manly. If someone does not fit into these norms, they are considered deviant. Many feminist scholars, such as Judith Lorber and Patricia Yancey Martin, are working to combat this definition, and to change the normative culture. They attempt to “unveil the social processes that produce and maintain the invisible gender-related assumptions and beliefs that undergird so many claims about women’s and men’s bodies,”[14] and argue that the basis of this construction is, in fact, a power difference between men and women.

From a microsociological perspective, the rise in cheating can be directly linked to the rise in the number of extrinsically motivated people, specifically women. It is, of course, impossible to quantify this link, as no historical studies are on the books regarding proportions of extrinsically to intrinsically motivated people which we could use to compare the current rates of motivation. However, one can logically deduce that the connection exists by applying the aforementioned concept of social construction of reality. If reality and by extension, culture, is constructed socially, then it must be true that cheating has become a part of our normative culture. One could argue that incidences in more than 90% of cases would most certainly constitute a behavior’s inclusion in normative culture.[15] We could then go further by deducing the cause of academic dishonesty’s integration into normative culture. When we look at McCabe and Bower’s study on the rise of cheating based on gender, we encounter a shocking idea: men have always cheated at a relatively high level (70%), while women’s rates have risen significantly (from 50% to 70%) over a thirty year span.[16] So, what societal factors changed during this period to account for this rise? One could argue that women’s entrance into previously male-dominated majors (business, science, etc.) has precipitated the increase. Now, one would not suppose that these majors have corrupted the women, but rather that the higher level of competition in these fields has fundamentally altered the motivation type of the women, and by extension, the men, within them. A tension has arisen between the traditional, intrinsically focused emphasis of education on learning, and the contemporary, extrinsically focused emphasis on grades and achievement. The increasing intensity of this focus on grades has altered the goals of the education system, and thereby multiplied the need to cheat to achieve this goal tenfold.

In conclusion, there are countless causes which could be posited for the uprising in the number of students engaging in academic dishonesty. However, sociology gives the discerning researcher the ideal framework through which to view the problem, and thereby to deduce a solution. Since the institution of education is based on the capitalist system, and its greatest flaw lies in its treatment of students as commodities, which encourages cheating in order to increase exchange value, thereby increasing the levels of extrinsic motivation, coupled with a lack of regulation, one can only assume that the entire structure on which the institution is based is fundamentally inadequate. A capitalist system of education will not stand in the long run, due to the fact that competition for high exchange value is not an activity that we want our kids engaging in, at least until they are much much older. Therefore, the only way to eliminate, or at least decrease the intensity of, the cheating culture in America, is to restructure the institution of education itself. Kids will be kids, and some kids will cheat, it’s true. But to place them in a system which makes it basically impossible to avoid cheating? That’s our fault.

 

[1] Clement, Mary Jeanette. “Academic Dishonesty: To Be or Not To Be?” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 12: 255.

[2] Clement, Mary Jeanette. “Academic Dishonesty: To Be or Not To Be?” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 12: 254.

[3] Clement, Mary Jeanette. “Academic Dishonesty: To Be or Not To Be?” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 12: 255.

[4] CHEATING. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/CHEATING.

[5] Cascio, Christopher. “How Will Cheating in School Affect the Rest of Your Life?” Global Post.http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/cheating-school-affect-rest-life-28573.html.

[6] John Witt, The Big Picture: A Sociology Primer (New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007). 274.

[7] Rettinger, David A. , and Yair Kramer. “Situational and Personal Causes of Student Cheating.” Research in Higher Education 50: 295.

[8] Prendergast, Christopher, “Why Do African Americans Pay More for New Cars,”Peter Kivisto, ed., Illuminating Social Life: Classical and Contemporary Theory Revisited, 4th ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2008). 169.

[9] John Witt, The Big Picture: A Sociology Primer (New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007). 157-158.

[10] Konnikova, Maria. “Inside The Cheater’s Mind.” The New Yorker, October 31, 2013. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/10/what-makes-people-cheat.html, pg. 3.

[11] Rettinger, David A. , and Yair Kramer. “Situational and Personal Causes of Student Cheating.” Research in Higher Education 50: 296.

[12] Rettinger, David A. , and Yair Kramer. “Situational and Personal Causes of Student Cheating.” Research in Higher Education 50: 294.

[13] John Witt, The Big Picture: A Sociology Primer (New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2007). 94.

[14] Judith Lorber and Patricia Yancey Martin, “The Socially Constructed Body: Insights from Feminist Theory,” Peter Kivisto, ed., Illuminating Social Life: Classical and Contemporary Theory Revisited, 4th ed. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2008). 243.

[15] Clement, Mary Jeanette. “Academic Dishonesty: To Be or Not To Be?” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 12: 254.

[16] Clement, Mary Jeanette. “Academic Dishonesty: To Be or Not To Be?” Journal of Criminal Justice Education 12: 255.

 

Six Reasons Why I Love Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy is unique in that it cannot be reviewed with a synopsis, or else one of the essential pieces of its allure is lost. So, instead of telling you the plot lines, or even really who the characters are and how they function together with the story, I shall tell you six reasons why I love the series, without specifics, so that you are forced to read this excellent and intriguing trilogy for yourselves.

  1. Characterization: Taylor is an absolute master at developing her characters so that they jump off the page. The protagonist, Karou, is nuanced and deep, with real personal struggle and intense inner dialogue. The shifts in perspective are effective and well-written, with a full understanding of the other characters’ personality and sense of self.
  2. Setting: Prague is a perfect choice for the setting of these novels. Is there any more understated, and yet inherently magical, city in which to place this wholly masterful piece of art?
  3. World Development: Oh, the worlds. The worlds in which this series takes place are shocking, beautiful, fully fleshed out, and incredibly believable.
  4. Writing Style: Taylor’s writing is conversational, accessible, deeply thought out, and revelational.
  5. Trilogy-ness: If this book was just one, I would die. Thank God for trilogies.
  6. Mystery: The essential piece of this work is the constant unfolding of new plot themes, and the unveiling and subsequent solving of mysteries.

Also, I would like to introduce to you my new rating system, one of my own devising, which reveals very easily how I feel about the books I read. It goes like this:

  1. Fiery Loathing: Books that I absolutely hate. Not many fall into this category, but ones filled with hate or discrimination could fit here.
  2. Boring As Hell: Books that don’t hold my attention, and which I end up not finishing.
  3. Facebook Like: If this book was a Facebook page, I’d like it.
  4. Fangirl-Level Obsession: A book which captures my soul in its grasp, and which I would gladly promote with all of my fangirl powers.
  5. Idol Worship: Pure, unadulterated worship-worthy books. Only the greats fall here.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone falls at number 4, fangirl-level obsession, on the scale.

Beautiful, A Short Story by Aurora Silvers

NOTE: This blogger has permission to post this story from the author, Miss Aurora Silvers.

Beautiful

Aurora Silvers

I angle the camera so that it hides half of my face, but still shows my cleavage to its fullest extent. My elbows are down at my sides, but my arms are slightly pressed together so that the pose accentuates my boobs. I have a bra on, but I know as soon as I sent this photo, he will ask for another, this time with no bra. “C’mon, baby, show me more. You make me so hot,” he will type, and I will acquiesce, although I may argue a little bit first, so as to not seem easy. He might ask for a full body, and I’ll do my best to avoid showing my fat. After this one, he’ll beg me to Skype him, telling me how hot I am, how sexy. Not beautiful, never beautiful. But the attention is enough for me, and I will do what he asks. He’ll talk me into taking all my clothes off, he’ll ask me to dance for him, or spread my legs. I take care to focus on one body part at a time. I know if he were to see me completely naked he would disconnect. He’ll disconnect anyways, after he’s finished, he’s just using me, I know that. But does it stop me? No. Will it ever stop me? I don’t know. But for a few seconds, I feel whole, attractive. And as that feeling begins to slip away, I log into a chatroom, text an old guy friend, create a teen singles site account. I upload a provocative photo that doesn’t give too much away, I choose a sexy user name, I use a lot of winky faces, I pretend to be bi, whatever it takes. I text or talk late into the night, and I sometimes talk to the same guy more than once, if I can keep him interested. But I never, ever meet guys from the sites offline. Or, at least, I don’t until I join TheMeet.

 

The TheMeet account requires my real name and hometown, which I know I shouldn’t give out, but I’m desperate. The cyber sex and photo swapping aren’t filling the cavernous hole inside me anymore. I still do it, almost constantly, but TheMeet offers me something I need: touch. I know it requires me to give up more than I want to, but I am certain that I won’t give up the most important thing, not until I’m married. I upload a picture that makes me look slightly older (makeup; lips parted slightly) and sensual (a bit of cleavage; a smolder in my eye). The GPS setting allows me to message guys in Sevenston, where I live. I message multiple guys, but none are interested. The already huge hole in my heart gets a little bigger as I realize no guy actually wants to meet me, even with the lure of messing around. I decide I need to up my game, and decide to upload a racier picture: me, wrapped in a robe, with a flash of my bra showing. I’m ashamed of the photo, but I force my feelings down, and quickly they don’t hurt anymore. Several guys message me eventually. Each day I wake up and immediately check my phone for messages. Each night I post a bedtime photo artfully displaying my only good feature: my breasts. A couple guys message me looking for a sex buddy, but I can’t bring myself to give quite that much up to a random guy; regardless of how much I need someone to appreciate me, or even pretend to do so. Finally, I meet with one guy, Jason. He picks me up, and we drive around in his truck. He’s pretty cute, but I notice a condom sitting on the passenger floor mat. I scoot it under my seat with my shoe and turn up the music. “Ignore it, ignore it,” I think to myself. Jason pulls up to an overlook that surveys a secluded part of the Sevenston Lake. He leans over and puts his hand on my thigh. My heart starts to beat faster, and I smile. I’ve only been kissed once before, and it was a nasty tooth decay-scented peck followed with an attempted boob grab by my best friend’s older brother. But Jason doesn’t kiss me. Instead, he unzips his pants with his other hand, and as he pushes my head down towards his lap, a tear rolls down my face.

 

Braedon picks me up outside my school in a smoke-scented SUV that I later find out is his mom’s. I have told my mom I’m having dinner with my friend Kelly, but I’m really going to Braedon’s house to watch a movie. His place is only two rooms: his living room and his bedroom, with a tiny kitchenette and miniscule bathroom attached. His parents aren’t home when we get there, even though he had promised me they would be. He leads me to his bedroom, which is basically a bed with a foot-wide walkway around it. I sit on the very edge of the dark gray comforter, which kindof smells like sweat socks. But when he kisses me, I lose all sense of myself. Before I know it, my shirt and bra are in a tangle on the floor, and Braedon’s hands are holding my hang against his bare crotch. I don’t have sex with him, I still hold that dear. But he finds ways for me to… relieve him. Until I can’t anymore.

 

After Braedon cheats on me, I’m an absolute wreck. I stay in bed for multiple days, and post nearly naked pictures on TheMeet. I try my best to coax guys into telling me I’m beautiful, but the most I ever get is a, “You’re sexy, baby,” or “Your boobs are so hot.” I like and comment on any and all guys’ statuses, regardless of how explicit they are. I have lost all sense of self-respect, and I begin binge-eating to fill the endless void inside of me. A guy messages me one day, a simple “hey.” I know it won’t go anywhere, but I shoot him a reply. His name is Cooper, and he’s from a town about forty-five minutes away. He asks to meet me at the bookstore in Sevenston, and the last message before he leaves to meet me reads:

You’re Beautiful.

Why I’m Passionate About Education

Why I’m Writing A Blog Post About Why I’m Passionate About Education, Or:

She’s So Not Qualified

So, you might be wondering why a 19-year-old AA student feels qualified to talk about the problems in education. WELL, I’m not qualified. And I know that. But I do CARE. I care so deeply that I can’t NOT talk about education. Today, in my Sociology class, my professor said that nobody intelligent and ambitious goes into Education anymore. At first, I was shocked. I was like, “I’M FAIRLY INTELLIGENT AND VERY AMBITIOUS. WHAT ABOUT ME?” Then, I started to think. Sure, Education majors go into the field with a passionate heart and a loud mouth about the value of a good education. But do many of them stay that way? No. Do many of them genuinely retain the passion for educating children that they went into teaching with? Not likely. Is that the fault of the teachers? Not at all. And here comes the cliche siren call of all revolutionaries everywhere: It’s the fault of the system. So the new breed of educators needs to acknowledge this fact, embrace it, and fight to change it. But NOT at the expense of our kids.

I Care About Reform…

  • Because the system sees kids as statistics. All it sees are the test scores, the demographic charts, the graduation rates. It doesn’t see the five year old whose face lights up every time she’s confronted with a new book to tackle. It doesn’t see the eight year old who could learn more effectively if he was allowed to touch and interact with the concepts. It doesn’t see the thirteen year old who can build a robotic arm that is capable of picking up and gripping objects at a simple command. And it doesn’t see the seventeen year old who struggles in math and science but draws and paints and creates life with her two hands.
  • Because the system perpetuates extrinsic motivation.

                     FACT: Children naturally love learning.

                    FACT: Our formal education system crushes that love out of them to the point that they can’t appreciate it for what it is                         anymore.

                    FACT: The system places too much emphasis on outcomes, which are the result of regurgitation of facts and prescribed                       “correct answers” and not enough on application, critical thinking, and interaction.

Because I Care About Kids.

Good teachers are…

  • Guides
  • Friends
  • Mentors

Good teachers are NOT…

  • Dictators
  • Pure Lecturers
  • Removed from, or above, the kids.

In Conclusion

I’m going into education because kids need teachers that care about them. They need teachers who will advocate for reform, but will also actively participate in educating kids.

Educator First, Activist Second