Jack Vazzana, PhD
Department of Sociology
Kent State University
East Liverpool, Ohio
Room 305F Main
A FINAL WORD
I have spent
thirty-eight years in classrooms and have had over 9000 students some of
which liked me and some who did not. Of course, that goes
reciprocally! Through those years and the years in which I grew up
(the forties and fifties) I witnessed a great ride from the mechanical
to the virtual or electronic age. All along, however, people fabricated
my construction of reality of which I am grateful. It is people who I
met, experienced and reacted to as well as them reacting to me that made
life sometimes a joy and sometimes misery, but that is the way it goes.
One does not become trustworthy if they are never trusted, as it is
said, and one does not become a whole person without personally growing through interaction. The classroom taught me that if one is
self-centered and can not take criticism - they had better look for
another job because the day a teacher believes they are a good one, is
the day they become a bad one! It is all predicated on dealing with
people. Recently a sociologist said that one has to also change with the
times. In education, that means bowing to online courses. I agree, but that does not mean
one has to accept them. Online courses have
education and the nature of human existence. No longer
do people have to interact with what is happening in the world
because they can see it on the computer. The problem is they may not
understand nor learn anything about themselves from paucity of experience. The only way one
grows as a person is to put those personal ideas out there and see how
well they stand up. Don't do this and one will never know what their
talents and failures are nor will they ever get to know who they are
existentially other than what the little screen tells them to do in the
rat cage. I am criticized every day in class and thank the students for
that - it puts me in a certain place that I can experience creatively.
That is THE important change the sociologist missed - not the change that one has to
become another lemming and just "go along with things."
Sometimes the best learning for me has occurred when I was aggravated by
someone or I aggravated them. Then I had to find out just what kind of
a person I was in terms of defending or regretting what I said. Often it
worked out and often it did not, BUT at least it was better than being a
monumental wimp and hiding behind the "not offending" philosophy.
People are all different and no one
is equal to anyone else. Some are better and some are less - so it goes. Respect and strive for
personal quality and avoid the mediocre. Never believe there is not someone better than you. There always
is - deal with it. Your personal standard of excellence built on face-to-face
contact may not be as good as another's and it even may be wrong.
It is, however, you standing for something built on an actual foundation
of interaction and that is a great deal better than going out on your knees.
Go To Dr Jack's Loft
US History I