I am frustrated. By frustrated, I mean I have reached the boiling point. I am angry, sick to death . . . disgusted. Yep, that is how I feel today. Good and mad.
Wanna know why? Two words have caused all this frustration - complacent ignorance. You heard me. Complacent. Ignorance.
Of course, you may wonder about these two terms. Here is a small gut check to help you decipher the meaning.
1. Do you congratulate yourself on having a lot of knowledge?
2. Do you congratulate yourself for NOT having a lot of knowledge?
3. Do you feel so comfortable with yourself and the "status quo" that you do not see the need to grow?
4. Do you feel jealous when others know more than you?
5. Do you mock or ridicule others because they seek knowledge?
6. Do you lack a desire to learn new things?
If your answer was yes to a majority of the above questions, then you may be suffering from the "caving to society syndrome" called Complacent Ignorance. If that is you, go ahead and stop reading. I cannot help you; you do not want to learn and do not care anyway. For the rest of us, listen up! I have some advice for you.
I love knowledge. No matter what I am studying, if it is in my field, I want to know more about it. Along with learning, my next favorite thing to do is network and share. If there is a new strategy, I want to learn about it. If there is a better way to work "smarter not harder" as a teacher, I am all over it. In other words, I strive to learn about my field and enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. Guess what? If you are like me, you already know. People are mean, especially to life-long learners. I cannot lie to you; unkindness to the "studious" type does not go away. I have just learned to cope with it. Sure, I get my feelings hurt. Do not think for a second that teachers are all nice and nurturing of one another. In the last 24 hours, I have had three educators "slam" me and my desire to learn. The. Last. 24. Hours. I kid you not.
My response. Who cares?
Belittling someone because they like to learn is simple-minded, no matter the age.
Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin
This one is a little tricky. We all love/hate parts of what makes us unique. For me, I do not enjoy my obsessive personality; it drives me nuts. I am sure there is something about yourself you do not like; however, that does not mean you have to let that define who you are. Those of you that know me have seen my obsessive personality at one point or another. Whether I love or hate that about myself, I know my capabilities and limitations. I see myself! While there are many, many areas that need improvement, I have learned to be comfortable in my own skin.
Max Lucado said it best in his children's book You are Special, "Words only hurt if you let them." So, if you are a life-long learner like me, take heart. You give others the power to hurt you. If you see others in that light, you take the power away from the detractors and find comfort in your own skin. Society wants us to worry so much about "fitting in" or "standing out." Will you cave to the trends in your life circle? If your peer group finds it funny to ridicule or mock others, will you allow it? If your friends make fun of, say, blogging, will you do it too? Or, will you step up, find comfort in your own skin, and say, "I actually like to learn."
See Learning in a New Light
Thank the good Lord for knowledge. Whether you want to admit it or not, learning changes the world. I really believe this. As you read this blog post, a scientist somewhere is researching the cause of renal cell carcinoma (the cancer that killed my mother). I am so glad there are people willing to learn new things. Whether it is the cure for a disease, a new way to educate children, or the best strategy for solving a math problem, every time you are given an opportunity to learn, you are one step closer to knowledge. Wow! Imagine a world where the children and adults all viewed learning as "stupid" and/or "pointless." I would not want to live in that environment. Living in ignorance means, according to Merrian-Webster, "a lack of knowledge, understanding, or education." Oh, how complimentary. We love to laugh and say, "That is so ignorant." A boss or a scholarship committee, on the other hand, finds ignorance as exactly that - lacking.
So do I. Please, whatever you do, reframe the way you view learning if you find it "uncool" or "mock-worthy." Caving to the notion that learning is silly is, well, ignorant.
What are your thoughts? Have you been a victim like me? Have you mocked learning? What can we do to avoid caving?
As always, I would LOVE to hear from you.
Kimberly Barrett, NBCT, Bachelor of Arts of English, Murray State University, 1996, Master's Degree in English, MSU, 2004
Blessed to teach since 1996, I spend my days doing exactly what I've always wanted to do . . . TEACH. I'm married to the sweetest man alive, Tim, and we have two beautiful babies, Marlee Rose and Beau Wilson.