Throw Back Philosophy of Education Paper

Alan Squatrito

Professor De Marzio

Final Paper

Picture Courtesy of JW.org
Picture Courtesy of JW.org

 

The million dollar question to every human on this planet becomes a question that relates to what he or she wants to become in their life time. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your purpose? We are told that there is a special gift in each and every one of us and if we find that special gift or quality we can share it with the rest of the world and live life to the fullest. What is your special gift? These questions aren’t the easiest questions to answer. Some people go to their grave with out knowing what they were supposed to become their whole lives and it’s a situation that no one wants to have a part of before they pass.

Aristotle suggests that the purpose of life is to be happy, in order to find happiness we must seek a life according to reason. As a child I wanted to be a football player or a rock star. I thought scoring a touchdown or stage diving onto a crowd of people was an idealistic life style. My dad would always tell me that my mind would change as I grew older. I’m assuming that he was hinting to me that these dreams of mine were only dreams and nothing else, but that never stopped me from trying. Maybe my consciousness of reality was a little too immature or maybe I didn’t realize how big the world was and how every boy had a similar dream to mine growing up as a kid, but that’s only natural. Jean-Jacques Rousseau suggests that, “the most dangerous period in human life is that between birth and the age of twelve.” (A pg.57) Maybe my influences weren’t the right ones that the time but I wanted to be a running back, just like Barry Sanders. At an early age I was a little too big for the position, the elastic bands around my boxers weren’t as tough as I needed them to be and from then on in I was classified as an offensive or defensive lineman.

In high school I reached a whopping height of five feet and six inches. I lost most of the weight I needed to lose in order to get a chance to run the ball, and was one of the fastest kids on the varsity team with legs the size of tree trunks! I walked into my coach’s office my senior year and had a sit down with him. He still didn’t give me the chance that I deserved to try out as running back. Our school was based on politics, the label I had as a kid still stuck with me, and I never put my foot down the way I should have in order to get an opportunity to run the ball. I could have been better with the words I chose to have pleaded my case, but my coach still handled the situation a lot different than I would have if I were in his shoes giving a kid a crack at one of his dreams. My friends say I shouldn’t complain about not getting a chance to run the ball because we were state champions and I was the captain of the football squad that we had that year, but I will never know how good I could have been at one of my dreams. Playing football for any college or getting a scholarship to play football for any college almost seemed out of reach at this point, especially since the only credit I had was credit as an offensive lineman. I didn’t want to start from scratch so I gave up on football. As applications were being filled out for college, it was time to switch my focus onto college and planning for my future like the rest of my senior class. Everyone couldn’t wait to get out of high school but I wasn’t in any kind of rush. I applied to Montclair State University with a Sat score of 980 and I got in part time.

My first two years attending Montclair State University I was undeclared. The pressure was certainly on at this point and I had to find some enlightenment in order to pursue a suitable career and future for myself. When you notice new kids around the neighborhood of your home town doing the same thing you once did as a kid you are probably realizing it’s about that time to grow up. Finally, I declared my major from undeclared to biology. I thought I could become a doctor and make a lot of money. I also wanted to prove to myself that I had the brains to become one. I always had a problem with my academics growing up and I was never book smart, but this was the chance to prove to myself and the world that I had what it took to become a chiropractor. As I marched forward in the 2004 fall semester I found myself trying to crawl my way out of it. I failed my chemistry and biology courses. I know for a fact that I didn’t deserve a failure for biology. I had a strong feeling my professor had it out for me for one reason or another. Chemistry, on the other hand was dreadful. I struggled with all the material. I never went for help. I had a study buddy who had everything down pat and I would always link up with him for help. I thought I could survive the course through memorization tactics but I was wrong. The tests were extremely difficult. Every time you were to repeat the same mistake on the test the professor would double the points deducted from each answer. I thought this was unfair until the professor explained why he marked off points the way he did. He said if I were to become a doctor, perfection has to be taken seriously. What if I had to give a patient the perfect amount of a prescription or a drug for him or her to survive? One false move and I can end someone’s life just like that. I thought about what he said and I realized that I wasn’t the man for the job. I couldn’t trust myself to make those decisions, and if I were to make a big mistake that ended someone’s life or changed it in a negative way I couldn’t live with myself. Once again I was back at square zero.

As the spring of 2005 was on its way I changed my major to physical education. I chose this decision because it was an easy way out. Since I have been around teaching my whole life I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to become one. My father has been a teacher his whole life and my uncle has been a teacher his whole life. I never thought that being a teacher was all that special. I was just going through the motions at first and I had to lose someone special in my life in order to realize that teaching was the right job for me. My uncle, Alan Sponzilli, teacher of the year for New Jersey in 1979 for Glen Rock High School, was the man who stole my heart at an early age. He passed away in the summer of 2005 with Aids after struggling with HIV for seventeen years. I thought getting dumped by my first girlfriend was painful, this feeling annihilated that one. I was crushed and felt resentment towards God. Why did such a good person have to leave this earth? Is it true that only the good die young? Besides my immediate family, I thought I was the only one that was heart broken over this loss. Right before I knew it, letters were being sent to my house. The students that my uncle had taught from all different age groups were sending their condolences to my family. Not only were they sending their condolences they were sharing stories to us that we never knew about. They took the time out to show us how much they loved him and how much he had touched their lives in the classroom. There were a handful of people that claimed it was my uncle who had inspired them to become what they are today and this was beautiful to me. My uncle loved teaching, he loved people and he lived a life that he wanted to live. He lived his life through his passions. One of his passions was love for people. At this point in time of my life I realized that I had a passion for music, football, and most importantly people. Rousseau suggests that passion is love and these are the first qualities that what we are born with. We tend to lose sight of these things as we grow old, especially since we live in a dog eat dog world. We should live by our passions and I found that helping people to the best of my ability will make me proud of what I do for a living.

If life is about learning it should be learning for the sake of learning and learning for the sake of another good. We have to learn about what we love the most in life in order to shed good examples on the rest of the world, for the rest of the world. When I become a physical education teacher I can give back to society in many ways because I love people and I love to help. I can become a football coach for the school I will choose to teach at. I can cancel out my frustrations I had as a child by giving kids an opportunity to try out for the position they want to try out for. When I teach I can bring up the question to the board of education of the type of curriculum being learned in the classroom. What do we do with the kids who don’t have any direction? I strongly believe that there should be a course based on all the types of pursuits one can take before they enter college. We need to recognize that there are students out there who will be undeclared for two years. There might be students out there who don’t even want to go to college because they aren’t too sure of what their passions are. I can title the course The Non Majors. I can bring in people from all over the world with different degrees to shed light about their careers onto these students. I can have a class that is based on how to create a resume and what to expect when going on job hunts. These things are important tools for life and living in this world. I was never given these opportunities as a kid and I am sure my life would have been a little less stressful if I were to have learned more about what is out there as a student in high school. I would also try to teach that we can multi task. Life isn’t about settling down on just one job for a paycheck. We can do many other things if we want to. The purpose of life is to do what you find interesting to the best of your ability to leave your mark. You don’t have to stand out above the crowd and hope to be admired, you just have to be yourself and contribute to society the way you know you can. Teaching will open up many doors for me and I know I it will be a great learning experience. I will learn more about myself as well as others. I can only try my best to make learning fun and worth while for the kids that I will teach. If I make the topics interesting enough, I might help a boy or girl find that special gift that they obtain to find out what they want to become with their lives and that is worth living for. Teaching is not the only thing I am going to do with my life, it is just the start. It took me a while to figure out what my purpose is in life and sometimes I still stray from the question but I know for sure that teaching and helping others is just one them.

Work Cited

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Common Questions & Desperate Voices.

New York: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2006

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