Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
Randy Pausch starts off his last lecture with a smile on his face, despite the fact that he has been given three to six months left to live. He remains positive and speaks about the importance in life, achieving your childhood dreams and enabling others to achieve theirs. He gives us a list of his own childhood dreams and continues on to tell us how he fulfilled his dreams. Those he didn't fulfill, such as becoming a player in the NFL, taught him very important lessons which were useful in helping others to achieve their dreams.
When he was on a football team in his younger years his coach was being pretty hard on him, but not because he was mean or rude. He was doing this to inspire Pausch not to give up. Children need critique from others to insure them that they are important and someone does care. Pausch says that once someone stops telling you you're screwing up, that means they've given up. If no one has hope in a child anymore, they have reached the point where they can't have hope in themselves anymore either. This can not be allowed to happen. It is our job as teachers to be honest with our students, show them all sides of the spectrum, and never give up.
I feel if children are taught and showed that no dream is too big or small, they will have a greater hope. However, it is through personal experience that they will discover this. As Pausch points out, even if we don't always get the outcome we want, it is the experience that matters because we grow and learn from it. We as teachers are the final mediators in a child's life. There is no guarantee that parents, "friends", or anyone else is giving them the input they need. They need help to understand that a dream doesn't end with one accomplishment, but is built off of many accomplishments. Sometimes they may feel like they are running repeatedly head on into the brick wall, but they need to be taught that it is impossible to expect to soar over it on the first leap. It is a gradual climb that takes time and patience. If you make it over the brick wall, then it will be known how badly you wanted something.
As teachers, it is our responsibility to guide the children over the brick wall with encouragement no matter what they want or dream of. Pausch says it is important that we don't limit the children so that they can have freedom, but to continue pushing them towards their dream. He believes the most important thing while learning is to have fun. Therefore, he refrains from using books in his classroom, and lets the students work together and take field trips.
Pausch tells us that his lecture was a head fake, which is when a teacher is teaching one thing, but tricks the students into thinking they are learning about something else. He says we should cherish what we have learned in life and use it to enable others' dreams. In order to do this, we also have to achieve our own childhood dreams. I think Pausch definitely made an impact on others throughout his life, and although his speech was actually for his children, it spoke to all of us alike. Whether teachers, parents, or another type of mentor to a child, enabling dreams in the children is beyond important. When children are young and innocent, anything is possible. It is our job to help them to maintain that frame of mind, no matter what obstacles life throws out there.