If one more of our class’s guest speakers encourages my students to “Do what you love,” I’m going to throw up. No, not really. I mean, if successful person after successful person keeps repeating the same advice, no matter how cliché, there has to be something to it, right? Besides, the politicians, civil servants, economists and entrepreneurs who enter my classroom aren’t the only ones reiterating the “Do what you love” mantra. “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” — Henry David Thoreau (Weird, right? But it’s Thoreau, so who am I to criticize his metaphor?) “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” — Marc An
What Should We Talk About?
My favorite part of teaching was sharing evocative passages, affecting scenes, meaningful lyrics and innovative ideas with my students. We’d read, watch and listen to them, then think, talk and write about them.
It kept me from the curriculum. But then I’d think, Why isn’t this the curriculum? This is what kids need to learn! For example, after watching the scene where Tom Hanks scolds Geena Davis in A League of Their Own,
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!”
I’d share it with students and explain why I showed it to them. And now I’m sharing passages, scenes, lyrics and ideas with you with the goal of getting a thought-provoking, life-enhancing conversations started.