This morning, I was visiting with a friend who’s a professor at the business school of a local university. He was just finishing grading term papers. We talked about how he grades, and I was struck by the attention he places on each paper. He writes comments, as he grades pointing out how well the student is meeting his expectations.
I asked, “ Do you give the papers back to the students?” He said, “If they ask for them”. I wondered, “How many would want them back?” He said, “About 5%.”
I was stunned. For the most part, these students, who didn’t ask to see their term papers, where walking away from a great opportunity to learn. This had me wonder how many opportunities to learn I walk away from.
For instance, every interaction I have with others is an opportunity to learn. I can begin with looking back at a particular interaction and feel if I was present with the person. If I wasn’t, what was the distraction? I can remember if there was any judgment of the person. If I did, what can I learn about myself from this judgment? I can also recognize if I made any sort of commitment, like “let’s have lunch soon”. If I did, what am I going to do about the commitment?
We are in school and don’t realize it. Our life offers opportunities to learn about ourselves and all we have to do is take the time to get the lesson.