“Education functions to preserve a society’s economic and politi-
cal systems.” (Merriam & Brockett, 2007, p. 196)
“Learn from your mistakes.” Is that not what we were told growing up? I certainly was. Education (learning) preserves the systems of society by not only informing the scholastic populace of the what, why, and how of political and economic problems in the past, but goes further to cultivate an environment wherein students are able to critically discuss how to better these systems in the future.
This quote presses the importance weighing on instructors, whether they realize it or not. Be current in the affairs of the world, be constantly active in your own learning, be forever pursuing betterment and relevance for the sake of your students and therein society at large as a result—this is what I hear in the undercurrents of the above quote.
What hit me is realizing the crucial role I may be playing as an instructor someday. This is not a career to take lightly, not an achievement that affords a sense of “Ah, I’ve finally arrived and can therefore relax and coast through the remainder of my vocational life.” Such an attitude is the very antithesis of what such a position truly represents. So often I have thought to myself, “If I could only be a university professor, my life would be complete and I would be truly happy.” While this could possibly be true, how utterly ignorant to omit the constancy of learning, the burden of relevance, the necessity of being current for the sake of society.
That is how this quote has influenced me—realizing the true importance of my role as instructor. I may never teach economics or politics or history, but I must endeavor to find relevance in what I do instruct. I should subscribe to The Vancouver Sun or The Province to keep up with global information. I should watch the actual news instead of being solely updated in current events by comedians like Bill Maher. I should always be finding ways to weave what’s happening in the world into lesson plans of any subject for the sake of my society’s future.
Merriam, S. B. & Brockett, R. G. (2007). The profession and practice of adult education: An introduction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.