This entry probably won’t help me impress any prospective employers, if I ever go to look for a new job, but what the hell? It’s the truth.
I want and need to come clean with this: My education sucked. I am a product of boring and institutionalized learning. I’ve always been really ashamed of my education and it will be nice to get this off my mind.
All of this started when I watched a video with Ira Glass, of This American Life explain how to tell a story. As he started to explain the storytelling process, he makes mention of how we are (wrongfully) taught in high school to put a title at the top of the page and lay out the facts underneath. This conjured up my frustration with all of my boring teachers who just went along with the boring system and taught us what “the man” taught them.
So here’s my educational background. In all of it’s glory.
Grade School – William Holliday / Pontiac Jr. High, Fairview Heights, IL
My grade school was below average. The teachers were eternally cranky and not really willing to adapt to the differences in how different kids learn. The guy who was our Math teacher in 7th and 8th grade was an angry Army vet who had absolutely no patience for students who couldn’t quite grasp that letters now represented numbers.
The Lit and English teachers were way past elderly. They churned out unchallenging multiple choice tests like Brian McNamee passed out needles. The good news for me was that these multiple choice tests were the kind that you could figure out if you did them backwards.
High School – Belleville (IL) East High School
My high school was a collection of mediocre teachers who had a hard time connecting and stimulating most students. I seriously don’t recall admiring or respecting any of them. How can that be? You would think that there would be ONE that motivated me in a four year period. Nope. They just wanted to go along with the system and collect their checks on Friday.
College – Southeast Missouri State University
In college, there was a pretty wide disparity between the good and the bad. I was an Advertising/Communcations major and there was one professor who managed to get me off my ass and actually read the textbook. He also managed to make his lectures somewhat interesting. The problem was that he was a complete asshole who was nearing the end of his teaching career, and he really didn’t give a shit anymore. Sad to say, but he was the best professor I had.
On the flip side, the rest of the Mass Comm Dept. was filled with a bunch of clowns. I took “Basic Radio” and the nimrod who taught that class relied on the nerds who ran the college radio station show the rest of the class how to operate the controls. The guy who taught the 300, 400 and 500 level advertising classes was a complete joke. I remember in our Media Planning class he would use a local pizza place as the case study for mapping out a media strategy. WTF? How much does a local pizza place actually have to spend on media and how strategic can you really get with that budget?
Lucky for me, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of really smart people in my career and I have learned a ton from them. With this being the case, why would I go back to school for more institutionalized learning? My strategy has been to work with smart people, read books and blogs by smart people and attend seminars/workshops featuring smart people. I would rather be in control of what I learn and how I learn it instead of the knuckleheads who run most universities.