Let Fish Swim

I believe everybody is smart.

As a professor, I have endless faith in the capabilities of my students. I find myself pulling for them, often becoming as expressive as the most ardent sports fan as I grade exams.

I abhor seeing someone falter.

I’ve realized this is rooted in the knowledge each is giving her individual best, yet at the same time I find myself wondering if I’ve been ineffective.

Have I covered the material well?

Are the questions confusing?

Am I asking too much?

The administration and I have always agreed the best we can do for these women is put them in a position to succeed, both in the classroom and beyond. Until this evening, I’ve blinded myself to a truth which required attention:

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Albert Einstein

I pondered the quote for a while as I tallied results and sent them out. As I lay there asking myself what I could have done some other way, I remembered a basic fact:

“You know, a test says something about them, too.”

Demanding a perch scale an oak is a ridiculous waste of time.

The aim of the course–and the program, in general–is to produce the most capable medical assistants possible. Making sure the pass rate is 100% does them a disservice, leaving them ill-prepared for the challenges of the field and misrepresenting the university.

Regardless of how reluctant I am to admit it, it’s necessary some are pointed in new directions.

It’s only fair they be allowed to swim.


“Passionately Believe in the Perfectibility of Man.”

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2 Responses to “Let Fish Swim”

  1. 1 6 Lessons from a First Class Leader « MeBuilding Trackback on June 2, 2010 at 7:51 am
  2. 2 You are the Answer « MeBuilding Trackback on June 14, 2010 at 7:41 am
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