Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Last Lecture

After watching Randy Pausch's last lecture I was completely speechless. It would have been so hard for me to break down my life the way Randy did, and he did it very well. First he points out the "elephant in the room" which is his illness. He has about 10 tumors in his liver and the doctors gave him 3 - 6 months to live. Randy has an incredibly positive attitude about his situation and is just taking it as it comes. I had many favorite quotes from this lecture and one of them is "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." He is a wonderful teacher and has many skills and practices that can and should be used in every classroom.

Randy's last lecture is broken down into three topics. The first is about his childhood dreams, the second is about enabling the dreams of others, and the third is about lessons learned: how you can achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others. Another of my favorite quotes from his lecture is about the brick walls. It goes a little something like this "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we really want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough." I absolutely love what Randy is saying about the brick walls. I am going to use this quote in my future classroom. I think that it can give that extra bit of motivation when we need it the most. Brick walls let us show our dedication. If you have a dreams you can make it happen. Randy shows how he made his happen and it is possible at some point to reach your dreams too.

His next topic is how to enable the dreams of others. Randy was so happy to have become a professor. He says "What better of a place to enable the dreams of others?" I agree with this 110%! I think that teachers are here to help enable their student's dreams, no matter what those dreams may be. In some cases, a child's teacher may be the only one that actually cares what the child's dream is. Randy told his class who's projects completely blew him away that he knew that they could do better. He never put a bar anywhere for his students to reach, this way they just kept rising. He also states that "The best gift an educator can give is to make a student become self reflective." I will also use the "head fake" in my classroom. He says that the best way to make someone learn something, is to make them think they are learning something else. An example is ALICE. In this program students think they are just playing a game but in reality they are learning to program it. "Have fun while learning something hard!" Teachers also need to learn from their students.

In the lessons learned section he talks about how to get people to help you. He makes some great points such as: you can't get there alone, believe in karma, tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others not yourself. When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it. Always show gratitude. Be good at something, it makes you valuable. Be prepared: luck is where preparation meets opportunity. By the end of his lecture I was nearly crying, a wave of emotion came over me. Randy's lecture had two head fakes. The lecture was not about how to achieve your dreams, but how to live your life. Also, the lecture was not for the people in the class, it was for his kids. What an amazing teacher, husband, and father!

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