Who is Responsible for Your Learning? How about TEACH YOURSELF?

In the Principal's Office (In trouble Again)  painting by Je' from The Magic barn
In the Principal’s Office
(In trouble Again)
painting by Je’ from book: The Magic Barn

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” – Albert Einstein

“He is a very smart man. He is an autodidact.”

This rare comment was uttered by a man with two PhDs. Have you ever noticed that when a speaker is introduced, they always list for the audience the speaker’s college degrees? Because otherwise, why would you listen to them? They would just be regular stupid people.

But the PhD said this other man was very smart AND he was an autodidact. “Autodidact” means “self-taught.” In other words, the man has no degrees-and he is still-somehow!- a very smart man.

This kind of talk could dismantle the whole “buy-your-ticket” scam called college education. Good Lord, if people can teach themselves! The implications are staggering. But no worries, the fetish of college degrees and deference to them, are firmly entrenched in Anglo-American society. This has class overtones as well; it matters WHICH college they attended.

I find it ironic that education is constantly slammed-and the blame is placed (unfairly!) on teachers. The shite logic goes something like this:

1). Education is bad.

2) Teachers are incompetent.


3) Make teachers get MORE education. (Even though it is bad?)

I think teachers should get a whole lot more freedom. I think most of them are pretty darn capable, but “administration” and the whole ponderous system that weighs them down forces them to be an obedient little army. Or get fired.

Having said all that, I firmly believe we people can learn on our own. Ultimately, that’s the only way we do learn-unless you call putting facts in short-term memory and regurgitating them on tests, “learning.” What I remember from my college class on Earth Science is “magma” “tectonic plates” and…that’s about it. And I got an “A” in Earth Science.

Admit it! That’s how much you “learned” too-in subjects you did not use in your everyday life. Apprenticeships, or learning while doing, should be employed much more in the U.S. as they are in Germany. (Paid apprenticeships, not unpaid internships, which are just another form of exploitation.)


When I was seven years-old and learned “the trick” to reading (thanks to that union thug, Mrs. Stevens) I proposed to the adults that I drop out of school so I could work on my projects back on the farm. I figured that with my new skill and my library card, I could learn absolutely anything else I needed to know.

Many decades have passed and I think, in a way, Seven-Year Old Me was right.

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