Re: authenticity

Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 10:24:34 -0700

On Fri, 23 Aug 1996, Nick Carbone wrote:

> This snippet from _Teacher Magazine_ seems apropo of this point.
> It's from page 21 of their September 1996 issue and is reported by Debra
> Viadero.
> <quote>
> The Curse of the Valedictorian: High school valedictorians rarely turn
> out to be top achievers or risk-takers in life. That's what Boston College
> researcher Karen Arnold found after tracking 46 women and 35 men who were
> the top of their high school classes when they graduated in 1981. By age 32,
> of the valecdictorians, Arnold found, had turned out to be outstanding in
> their fields or had taken unconventional paths. "They're extremely
> well-rounded and successful, personally and professionally," says Arnold,
> who is an associate professor of education. "But they've never been
> devoted to a single area in which they put all their passion. They obey
> rules, work hard, and like learning, but they're not mold-breakers."

> (snip). "They decided there are lots of ways to be
> intelligent, not just through occupational success," Arnold says.
> Seems in general to support the theory that simply getting good grades,
> though it does indicates some good skills--working hard, liking
> learning--are not very good inidcators for the more important
> qualities--passion, convinction, joy, risk-taking, involvement--that seem
> to be the qualities we are hinting at as indicators of what or when our
> classes ro our students' writing is 'real.'
Nick--I'm not sure about your conclusion here. Just because the
valedictorians didn't choose risky careers or push the boundaries of
"occupational success" doesn't suggest to me that they *don't* have the
"more important qualities--passion, conviction, risk-taking, involvement"
that you list. I'd say that choosing a teaching, rather than a
science-technoglogy career involves all of those things, but the teaching
seems to be demoted somehow in this analysis. As if it was a fall-back,
not a well-reasoned position of a person who could have chosen the
high-tech track. (Perhaps I'm a bit defensive, as a valedictorian from
the highschool class of 1981 who chose English-teaching over my second
major of computer science in college.) --Phyllis