Learning to Take Responsibility

I am sure that we have heard the story about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody time and again, at different occasions. We laugh and enjoy the humorous word play presented ingeniously in the story everytime we hear it. Let me just refresh your minds of the same story at this juncture.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

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I bet you laughed reading the story yet another time. However, the application of this story to the realities of the school system is startling. I would imagine that Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody represent different social catalysts responsible for the establishment and sustenance of the school system. Teachers, parents, school administrators, and the society, all know for fact that the most important job to be done is to empower and nurture individual students to discover and maximize their potential to become constructive contributors to life on earth. However, experiences like anger, guilt, regret, and blame constantly influence educational scenarios in many societies. In the case of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody, at least they knew what their job was. Sadly, teachers, parents, administrators, and the society are not even aware of their job (in the first place) to be able to move on to the next level of action. As such, the school system has been “existent” for many decades, but have always failed to “live”.

The Existence of a school connotes a desire of its members to survive (in which case, the quality of the survival is not as important as the survival itself), while a school that is Living does not merely survive but also strives to make a genuine difference in all of its members! As far as I see it, the school and every member involved in the functioning therein are responsible for one thing and one thing alone…

To establish a caring and passionate ‘working-relationship’ with students so that the teaching-learning experiences at school become meaningful and personal – leading to increased assimilation of what is taught – useful for the present as well as the future. Of course this is not accomplished by some magic tricks. It takes a lot of time, effort, intelligent thinking and planning, and commitment to ensure this outcome.

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Nevertheless, the possibility or impossibility of the above mentioned goals are significantly dependent on how well the four main catalysts of the school system work toward (collaboratively) making this a reality. Instead of ‘passing the baton without running the race,’ (or engaging in social loafing) – teachers, parents, school administrators, and the society might want to re-consider and accept the crucial responsibilities placed in their hands to effect positive changes in the lives of students who would someday, become the future. Let us not forget that we care for our students because someday soon, they too will CARE for us! (now you know why many parents end up in old-folk-homes instead of cherishing the remaining days of their lives with children and grandchildren???)

Copyright June 2006 by Dr. Edward Roy Krishnan, www.affectiveteaching.com

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