By Eddie Griffin
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I always tell my students: To whom much is given, much is required.
But what have I been given, my student might ask?
I think I have been blessed with much, almost more than I can handle. Sometimes it is a burden of the conscious, for which I would gladly be relieved, to retire in my old age and relish in memories of the past. But I cannot.
I look at my role as a classroom teacher. What do I see in every classroom, whether bible class or a prison class. I see eager, hungry, students, yearning to learn, and become masters of their fate. To reach their goal of mastery, they must go through me. They must pass my examinations and my test by fire.
Who is in control here, kids?
Are there any exceptions? Of course, there is always the odd ball.
I was once taken to task about calling my students, “dingbats and knuckleheads”. It was a namely I fondly gave them. There is one favorite alumni presidents of the original “dingbats and knuckleheads”. He likes to come home and rub it in my face.
“Remember when you made me president of the dingbats and knucklehead club?” he would ask.
The kid straightened out, stop drinking, went on to the University of Houston on scholarship, graduated, and now works for one of the Big Six accounting firms. He jokes about now hiring me.
All of my students are dingbats and knuckleheads, no exceptions.
Once I taught a computer skills development class to a group of ex-juvenile offenders.
Now, everybody is smarter than the teacher, right?
The little juvenile buggers were always trying to outsmart the teacher. They would go to lunch and sneak off. They would get on the Internet and deviate from the lesson plan.
Okay, we got ourselves a discipline problem.
One day I found them all snickering in class. Whatsup?
“We are a bunch of dingbats and knuckleheads,” the former juvenile offender replied.
So is the admission of my student and my stated mission, as a teacher, is to make my student look utterly stupid in their own eyes. Maybe they would see the need for change.