Another brick in the wall

Every teacher knows the Pink Floyd song “Another brick in the wall” from The Wall.  I think we all know it because it bugs the hell out of us.  “Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone.”  That line kills me because it obviously implies that the teacher is getting in the way of creativity and of the students true passions.  Also that they imply that education is thought control….argh!

As I heard this song on the radio, the image of a brick in a wall is what popped into my head.  It really struck me hard.  If you think about a large brick wall:

Yes, you might see something boring and mundane, or you could see something that represents a piece of the architectural structure that if removed would cause the entire building to collapse.  But, now look at one brick; it doesn’t matter which one.  Notice they’re all different: different sizes, different shapes, different textures.  What would happen if you removed one?  Would the wall fall down?  Would it even be a little unstable?  Or except for an empty “seat” would you even notice that it was missing?

That is what was going through my head as I was driving to work today.  Are my students bricks?  Being a cog is boring, but without an important cog, the machine stops.  I need to instill in my students the desire to not be bricks.  I don’t want them to be cogs either as long as they are the important cog; the one that the machine needs to keep functioning smoothly (the linchpin as Seth Godin calls it).  I want them to be creative, to stand out, to use their talents and passions every day in every situation.  I want them to be unique (like everyone else), but more importantly I want them to feel special.  I want them to be appreciated for what they contribute to my class, my life and the lives of the people around them.
Now, the question becomes how do I do that?

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