It Takes All Sorts!

I learned once, long ago, that everyone could be a role model to me, if I had the courage to learn from them.

Not always a positive role model, mind. Some are negative role models, who teach me well how I ought not to be. I learned this lesson from Neil deGrasse Tyson, who explained that he had macraméd a role model for himself out of the best pieces of everyone he met.

It can be difficult to learn the lessons we must from those from whom we do not wish to learn. All the same, learn from them we must or risk repeating their errors.

It can be difficult to learn the lessons we must from those from whom we ought to learn. All the same, we must forgo our pride or risk never owning for ourselves their brilliance.

I liked the analogy of building role models out of snippets because often I find a single person can teach me both things I should do and things I shouldn’t.

The sayings of Mr Dooley can perhaps precisely be such an amalgamation. I’ll leave you with a quote of his on the subject of education. I’ll also leave you with my best wishes for a safe spring break.

“I don’t undherstand a wurrud iv what ye’re sayin’,” said Mr. Hennesy.

“No more do I,” said Mr. Dooley. “But I believe ’tis as Father Kelly says: ‘Childher shudden’t be sint to school to larn, but to larn how to larn. I don’t care what ye larn thim so long as ’tis onpleasant to thim.’ ‘Tis thrainin’ they need, Hinnissy. That’s all. I niver cud make use iv what I larned in colledge about thrigojoomethry an’—an’—grammar an’ th’ welts I got on th’ skull fr’m the schoolmasther’s cane I have nivver been able to turn to anny account in th’ business, but ’twas th’ bein’ there and havin’ to get things to heart without askin’ th’ meanin’ iv thim an’ goin’ to school cold an’ comin’ home hungry, that made th’ man iv me ye see befure ye.”



Matt Wiley is a tenured, associate professor of mathematics with awards in both mathematics education and honour student engagement. He earned an assortment of degrees in computer science, business, and pure mathematics from the University of California and Texas A&M systems. He is the director of quality enhancement at Victoria College, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance institutional performance outcomes. A programmer, a published author, a mathematician, and a transformational leader, Matt has always melded his passion for writing with his joy of logical problem solving and data science. From the boardroom to the classroom, he enjoys finding dynamic ways to partner with interdisciplinary and diverse teams to make complex ideas and projects understandable and solvable.

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