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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The teacher is not always right (at least not about this Nobel Prize winner)

The teacher is not always right. Take this report card for a troubled science student in 1949.

"It has been a disastrous half. His work has been far from satisfactory. His prepared stuff has been badly learnt, and several of his test pieces have been torn over; one of such pieces of prepard work scored 2 marks out of a possible 50. His other work has been equally bad, and several times he has been in trouble, because he will not listen, but will insist on doing his work in his own way. I believe he has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous, if he can't learn simple Biological facts he would have no chance to find the work of a a Specialist, and it would be sheer waste of time, both on his part, and of those who have to teach him."

This is taken from the report card of John Gurdon, by a teacher at Eton College in 1949.

Boston.com - AP News - Nobel Prize winner gets poor marks in science.

Gurdon has just won the Nobel prize for science. I find it ironic how quickly this paper surfaced. I would wonder if Gurdon kept it as fuel for his passion, kind of like I recall those in my class who told me that I'd never be anything because I had no common sense.

I am going to show this to my students today. The fact is that passion cannot be held back and that teachers aren't always right.

It is also true, that sometimes we learn the most from our worst teachers... or those we get along with the worst... that -- "if it is to be, it is up to me."

Ponder this one today. Remember your noble calling, teacher, but also that you are not omnipotent.

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