Monday, 15 September 2014

Back to Basics: Things to remember along the way (5P42)

A book that has sat untouched on my coffee table for many years landed in my lap one day this summer when the power went out. Mr. Fred Rogers, of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, over the course of three decades on television became an indelible American icon of children's entertainment and education, as well as a symbol of compassion, patience, and morality. This book “Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way” included a variety of quotes, songs and poems that he collected over his journey through education that has carried weight or significance for him. To begin this journey through the MEd process, I was able to take some comfort in his selection of material.

“All I can say is, it’s worth the struggle to discover who you really are and how you, in your own way, can put life together as something that means a lot to you.”

This quote resonated with me and my ongoing discovery of what this education path I am on really means my career as an educator. I am constantly in a state of self-discovery, meta-cognition and change. This combination of skills, I have learned, has been crucial to my understanding of the world around me. I have spent so much of my student life desperately searching for all of the information available on as many topics as I could squeeze into my brain. I am realizing now that this approach to education (seeking existing answers and information) is just the tip of the iceberg that is all potential education.  I am now on a new stream of understanding where I am consistently looking for the gaps in knowledge, for the questions that have not already been answered. I believe it is this desire to learn and desire to inquire that will allow me to continue to make sense of my journey through education.

My mother would always point out this one poster to me in the grocery store as a child. In an attempt to get local businesses to hire high school students, a poster was created with the following slogan; “Hire a teenage while they still know everything!” It seems to be true that teenagers really do think they have the answers to everything! Reflecting on myself in my adolescent whirlwind of education and socialization I realized that I felt comforted when I thought I knew most if not all of the material being presented. In no way did I actually know it all, but I truly felt like I did. For a short while I was able to ride this ‘education/information high’ until I realized this was certainly not the case. It did take a while to wrap my brain and ego around the fact that I did NOT know everything. In fact, I would NEVER know everything. It took a while before this understanding became commonplace and I was able to accept that this was how the rest of my education journey should be framed. 

In an article written by Martin A. Schwartz called "The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research" reflects on how stupidity is essential in higher learning environments. He writes that "the crucial lesson was that the scope of things I did not know wasn't merely vast; it was, for all practical purposes, infinite. That realization, instead of being discouraging, was liberating. If our ignorance is infinite, the only possible course of action is to muddle through the best we can." I am hoping that if you are on a similar journey as I am that you find comfort in this idea that ignorance is infinite and that our understanding and acceptance of that will strengthen our educational inquiries. 

I am looking forward to this process of blogging and reflecting on all aspects of this MEd process at Brock University. For those of you who are joining me, let us muddle on!! 

Yours truly, 
Ms Monica Taylor 


  1. I completely agree with you, Monica. As students, and especially as teachers, we feel pressure to know all of the right answers. The realization that there are no answers, only questions to be explored, has been a liberating and comforting realization for myself too. It definitely makes room for the co-learning approach to education that we discussed in seminar where student and teacher learn from each other, alike.

  2. I agree with this too. Seems counter intuitive that to be "stupid" is to be "smart". I really like your attitude here. Let's muddle on. S.