Are Students Sponges?

by Matthew Koslowski on September 2, 2009
in Anecdotes

When I told my co-worker, Bill, that I wanted to be a teacher, his memory of Mr. K– jumped to his mind. As I listened to him recall Mr. K–, I thought that I could be and hope to be Mr. K– for someone some day. I’ve at least got the right initial. I could see that this man had really moved him.

“I remember,” he said and his eyes lit up, “one history teacher that I had in high school, Mr. K–. He was like a father to me: I fixed him in my memory, the age he was when he was my teacher. I bawled when I learned that he died.”

What Bill said next stunned me.

“I’ll never forget what he said to us.” Bill paused and shook his head. He shifted in his seat and it I could see him calling up the way Mr. K– had carried himself. “Mr. K– looked at us and said, ‘You want to be sponges!’ he said, ‘You want to sit there, receive knowledge as if it were water, and wait for me to squeeze it out of you with some test! C’mon guys, you need to think for yourselves.’”

How relevant in our climate of high-stakes testing and teaching-to-the-test.