I’ve been thinking a lot about the terms “mediocrity” and “average” lately. In education, we often look at developing kids above “average,” in the pursuits of helping them to be successful (which can be defined in so many ways), but what does that mean? I watched this video from Seth Godin where he connects “average” to “mediocrity,” and then goes on to state, “mediocrity is for losers.”
I am not sure I would agree with the bluntness of this statement, but I know few people who want to be considered average.
Here’s the deal…based on the meaning of “average,” we will never get away from this. If everyone becomes awesome, then awesome becomes the new average, which then raises the bar for what “awesome” is. Maybe the goal should not be to develop students who are above “average,” but to work to the point that “average” becomes a much higher standard in education.
To do this, we are going to have to focus more on developing strengths and what they love, as opposed to what we love.
There are teachers who want so deeply for you to feel the same passion for their content area that they feel, but this doesn’t always become contagious. I had some amazing teachers as a student who LOVED their content, but it never caught on with me. What is important is that I don’t necessarily develop their passion for their subject, but I develop a passion for something. Seeing what “passion” can lead to, helps raise the bar for all of us. I am reminded of this quote:
We should love what we teach and I am in no way arguing against this as passion is contagious. But kids should also have a lot of time loving what they learn, and sometimes what we love and what they love, aren’t the same. It is important to recognize this. It is not that we should only focus on what students are passionate about, as many have mentioned, school should also expose learners to things that they might not have found on their own. Yet we need to be explicit in making time to developing student passions and interests. This will raise “average” for all of us and will move us closer to making the students that are the “outliers” become the norm.