Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blog Post #6

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch 

 (1960 - 2008)

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Randy Pausch has to be one of the most inspirational speakers I've ever heard. Even if you disregard his illness at the time of the lecture and put aside the fact that he passed away in 2008, his accomplishments and enthusiasm for life are contagious. It was difficult for me to watch his lecture without a giant lump in my throat, as it is typical to feel sympathy for someone in this situation. Randy Pausch retained his zest for life even as he delivered his last lecture.

Anyone who watches Randy's lectures can gain knowledge about anything from Building Virtual Worlds to Time Management. I was reminded of many important things while watching the Last Lecture. What I learned was that it is important to apply positive life principles every day and it is vital to implement these as a teacher. Randy is an example that every day counts and we should do our best to make a difference until our very last day.

It is important to lead by example in the classroom. I have seen so many teachers start their day unprepared, ill tempered, with no patience for their students or excitement for the day. What kind of effect does this have on students? Randy states that it's important to be a Tigger rather than an Eeyore. It's important to keep having fun, no matter what. When teachers maintain their enthusiasm and compassion, students will come to expect it and even return it. Randy stressed the importance of believing in your students and being loyal to them. This is a concept I recently read about in Mr. John Spencer's blog. It appears that with intelligent, successful men like Mr. Spencer and Randy Pausch emphasizing the importance and benefits of giving students the benefit of the doubt and being patient enough to find the best in everyone, this would be more common among teachers. I have worked with teachers who were miserable from the time they walked through the school doors to the time they left the parking lot. Everyone has bad days, but I am going to start today and do my best to follow through every day of my teaching career to model my dedication through a positive attitude, respect, and loyalty to my students. Perhaps I will encourage others by living up to Randy's standards.

Students have come to me and asked, "Mrs. Mason, how does this look? or What do you think?" Randy's Last Lecture taught me to not be too easy on my students. I should push students to set a higher bar for themselves by encouraging them to do better. Even when I think they have performed well, giving positive, critique and advice will help my students strive to work harder. Giving them this drive and confidence to move forward will be a life changing skill that can help them succeed in future endeavors as well. This philosophy is also important in students who may want to give up. A teacher should never give up on a student, but support them and become resourceful enough to help them do their best.

Group work in the elementary or middle school classroom is something that is usually loud and out of control. Randy has proven the effectiveness and benefits of group collaboration and projects. Students learn to share ideas, collaborate, and learn to work together while accepting criticism. Kind of sounds like the real world,J-O-B doesn't it? I can understand why Randy would have us do these things. Students even begin to learn through creative assignments not realizing they are having fun. Randy called this the great "Head Fake". 

I'm not sure if you've noticed this before; it could just be me. I cannot tell you the number of times I've had the simplest of days planned only for everything to go wrong! Anyone who has ever taught in a classroom can tell you that this dilemma seems to take place there as well. When that happens if we freak out, stress out, flip out, things just get even worse. Randy says we should roll with the punches. Don't complain, just work even harder and things will turn around. I absolutely love that he referred to Karma. If you put out negative energy and actions, it just brings back more negative energy and actions. Be grateful for the days that don't go exactly like we planned and keep your eyes open. That's when Randy says we will learn something when we least expect it. 

When teachers can begin to learn from their students, accept criticism, feed back, and use it to improve, everyone grows and learns; Instant Karma. We should also be humble both as  future educators and educators and show gratitude to all of the people who have helped us reach our goals. It's so important to have people believe in you, encourage you along the way, and be there to continue on your journey. Showing that you value their support and guidance is a wonderful trait to have and model to students. 

I know that I have written more than the required 4 paragraphs for this assignment, but Randy Paush has had a deep affect on me ever since I saw his story on ABC's 20/20 years ago. The story of his determination and dreams, his beautiful family that he has so many reasons to live for, the countless students that he has nurtured and mentored, and last but not least, the legacy he has left as and educator and motivational speaker. I get excited and think "I want to be a person and educator just like Randy Pausch," but how many of us will get burned-out and start to complain and gossip with the group(there's one in every school) that is unhappy about everything: administration, students, paperwork, parent-teacher conferences, workshops, the school calendar,  you name it. I don't want to be that person.

I don't even know where I will teach, but I do know I will have 3 things placed in my classroom so that I can clearly see them every day and maintain a proper perspective:
  1. My framed College Diploma / Teacher Certificate with a picture of my family that supported me every day.
  2. A framed copy of all of the classes, requirements, hours, I had to take in order to graduate signed by Jayne Kennedy who has been the most wonderful advisor to a 39 year old Freshman in 2011. This will remind me of all that I worked so hard for to get into that classroom everyday.
  3. I believe I will add a small picture of Randy Pausch to remind me that life is what you make of it, anything is possible, and remind to daily use all of those wonderful nuggets of wisdom he shared and would still be sharing if her were able. To leave a legacy like his would be one of the greatest accomplishments in the world.
Pausch Family Photo
Randy Pausch Quotes:
*Don't complain; just work harder. (Randy Pausch)

*The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. (Randy Pausch)

*Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don't really want to achieve their childhood dreams. (Randy Pausch)

*The best gift an educator can give is to get someone to become self-reflective. (Randy Pausch)

*It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. (Randy Pausch)


  1. Christina,
    WOW! what a wonderful blog post on Randy. I too am motivated by his attitude. I loved his out look on life and how we should view our students. You set the tone for your classroom. I believe your classroom will be great. I would love for you to teach my boys. Keep up the great work! Lor Wyatt

  2. Thank you Lori! I believe it would be difficult for anyone to watch Randy Pausch and not become motivated to be the pest possible person they can be. All of these assignments have been overwhelming at times, but Dr. Strange certainly has done a remarkable job of assigning content that truly makes us consider the type of educator we will be someday. Good luck to you, and thanks for your kind words!

  3. Christie,
    You always go above and beyond with your work, which shows your enthusiasm and dedication, and that you are a hard worker. So much work went into this and I don't even know what to begin giving you props for. From the writing to the cleverness, the organization, and the images and quotes- you seemed to really enjoy this and get a lot out of it. Very impressive!

  4. Thank you Carly. I think it would be wrong to not do justice to such a wonderful, inspirational, giving man. I have always enjoyed writing, and it seems to come easy when given a good topic. His quotes are something I would love to print out and put around my classroom someday. It's sad that we have to be reminded to be our best, but sometimes we need that extra help. Thank you for all of your support! You have taught me that kind words and encouragement while giving analysis can really mean a lot to a student. I will be sure to do that and think of you when I do the same with my own students!