Sunday, May 20, 2007

Confessions of a Student

At my last Hebrew class, the teacher Miriam asked everyone to comment on what they had learned. There were comments like:

“I can now keep up with what is going on in the Shabbat service.”
“I now understand the prayers we say each week.”
“I understand how Hebrew roots work.”

When it was my turn I said, “I learned that I can come to class, not do one bit of homework, and still not be mortified.” And it’s true. Since Reya told me about Miriam’s class last fall, I have gone every week and never opened the book in between classes. I’m sure the class would have been even more beneficial to me if I had studied, but it was interesting to see if this non-homework behavior would force me to either work or drop out of class, and it did not. Some nights I was really on. Other nights I was fairly quiet so as not to reveal how little I knew.

But despite my lack of work, I learned an incredible amount just from coming to class.

Yesterday as my friend Liz, who is a published writer and who teaches creative writing at The Writing Center in Bethesda, suggested that now that I am retired I could take one of her classes this summer, I had several reactions:

– I never took a class like this in college because I was convinced I couldn’t make an A in a writing class.
– I could not get by with not doing my homework. It would be just too obvious.
– What if I learned that I wasn’t at all creative? What if I couldn’t think of anything to write about?

I have been wanting to take a class of some sort, though. Pauline’s example would say that we’re never too old to explore our creativity. Perhaps I’ll sign up for Liz’s class, knowing that my GPA no longer matters.


Blogger Kristin said...

What freedom - no longer caring about a GPA, learning for the sake of learning! Why not take it?

The fear that you're not creative is very creative indeed. Unimaginable, really. Of course, you are creative. You explore your mind and the written word daily. You cook. You sew. You enjoy a good labyrinth.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Oh you're creative! Writing is part skill, part timing, and part love affair. I so loved going back to school for my BA in my 50s that I continued on for my masters! Don't worry about performance - just have fun. You seem so open to new experiences. Now just be open to succeeding.

8:08 PM  
Blogger steve said...

I'm gonna go back to school after 30 years...I think I'm gonna make a better Student...
Now, could someone tell me what is a GPA?

10:26 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin, Pauline -- Thanks for the encouragement.

Steve -- What are you going to study? GPA is your Grade Point Average, obviously not up there on your list of most importants in the past, probably making you a better student than those of us who worried about such things.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I sense that you were once a real achiever and quite driven about accomplishing excellent results. Somehow, I never did that much or I'd have driven myself nuts.
Hope you can truly relax and just take it in for what it is. You'll have so much more fun if you do that and not think "GPA".
Enjoy..this is just the first of many interesting things you'll do!

9:10 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- This is one image I'm happy to leave behind!

9:32 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Grades are such an anti-learning thing. Wonder what Deming would have said about them?

Does Liz still teach at the Writing Center now that she is at a university? I'm sure it would be fun. I'll may take another short writing class at Chaut.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

It was a good response. Going off the beaten track is always inspiring, I find.

I have never cared about marks (which still haunts me - you would be surprised how many companies still ask to see your grades 12 years later), I always took what interested me, the knowledge, not the grade was important to me.

3:34 PM  

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