The Best Students are the Those Who Care The Most

Source: NYTimes, Mar 2012

The best students and the ones who get the most out of their educations are the ones who come to school with the most energy to learn. And — here’s an important corollary — those students are not always the most intellectually gifted. They’re not always the best prepared or the most cultured. Sometimes they think slowly. Sometimes they don’t write terribly well, at least at the start. What distinguishes them is that they take their lives seriously and they want to figure out how to live them better.

They’re an amazing pleasure to teach even if their subject-verb agreement isn’t always what it might be and they don’t know what iambic pentameter is. I can teach them those things. What’s way harder to teach — maybe it’s impossible — is the love for learning and the openness to experience that these students bring to the seminar table.

… what the truly hungry students have in common is pretty simple: Their parents loved them a lot and didn’t saddle them with gross expectations, spoken or unspoken. These students aren’t adventurous because they’re insecure and uncertain. It’s very much the opposite. Students willing to risk their beliefs and values in school do so because they have confident beliefs and values to risk.

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