One world, many universes

I was having a conversation today with a colleague about the different kinds of students I have. I was explaining that students in my classes seem to fall into one of two categories (with some overlap).

There is the student who is taking the course out of sheer love of the subject. This student is eager to learn, and is continually looking for more opportunities to dive deeper, and to tackle something more challenging.

Then there is the student who is “taking it for the grade”. This student generally wants to know the minimum work needed to do to get an A, whether there will be a final exam, and how much the homeworks count in the course.

To me these are entirely different categories of people, and it’s hard for me to think of them in the same way. The ones who are in it for the love of learning are the students who make my heart sing. I think of them as fellow travelers and as future colleagues.

The others — well, they are just a necessary part of the landscape. Their presence in the class is really a consequence of the structure of our educational system.

On a physical level, these students are all inhabiting the same world. Yet on an intellectual and spiritual level — at least when it comes to my class — they may as well be living within entirely different universes.

Leave a Reply