Sunday, May 3, 2009

Whose teaching who?

I spent the evening with two students from USC. Think Rose Bowl champs, think Lucas/Spielberg as alumni. Think of the arduous admission criteria these young men had to meet to be accepted into this hollowed hall of higher education. By any measure they are very intelligent if not brilliant.
One will receive masters in technology (and is planning on seeking a PhD); the other is one of the 1 in 100 that manages to get admitted to the prestigious film school.
Each came to be at USC by a different course. One was schooled internationally going to private English schools in India. The other had a pastiche of Catholic and city/suburban public. I think he went to school where he could play the most hockey or play with video.
I had cause to stay in their home for several days. What is common ground when we are separated by decades and the entire generation x. What is there that binds the millennial’s and I?
We end up talking about their experiences at USC. One of the big ten, blazes red and gold. They spoke, both sets of brown eyes animated by a flint of frustration.
I hear a disconnect. They attend to the process. Go to class, fill curricular expectations, jumping through each professors hoop’ An Olympic event knowing they must satisfy some obtuse yet clear criteria to receive their degree.
They attend to their classes and criteria but they are engaged elsewhere, these attentions are just a smoke screen
The paradox is anachronistic. brilliant professor disseminate info but their eye is on their own hoop. Tenure, publishing collegial camaraderie and status haunt the professors. They must adopt this ruse “the roll of professor”
These young students are slick, savy at information, click, click information at their finger tips, wisdom in short supply.
Oh the bells ring hollow in the hallowed halls.

They young are hungry soul sat an all you can eat establishment in a historic setting. They have partaken of the sumptuous courses but feel a craving. They fell under nourished and ill prepared..
But then there are the rocks...oh those rocks that the geology professor had them visit. The earths warmth and the sense of connection from the Saturday excursion has the young student
animated. His eyes get a spark. It is organic and alive, not a goggled images or a Wikipedia blurb or regurgitation of info. It is tangible. This professor has sparked a fire. The rocks themselves seem to speak inviting the young USC learner to his own core.
Once the world was flat. Once Galileo was persecuted. Once the visionary were burned at the stake. We want to stay awake. Connect us