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Aaron Yang

High school Mathematics teacher,

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Do we need "losers" to have "winners" in life?

I have recently decided to pursue a career in education and am trying to prepare myself for the upcoming school year. Some of my fears include dispassionate students and the diverse learning curve in a classroom. Although I am wholly optimistic and seeing the best in everyone, I know others will not see the same way. This got me thinking about the success of every individual on this planet.

For there to be winners/successful people, there must be others taking the hit. My question is, do we need to have this structure of successful and non-successful people in the world? Would it be possible for global happiness if everyone received the same goods and services, such as in communism?

Others will argue that different individuals are content with different levels of prosperity. But, at their levels of contentedness will the world remain stable? Say one individual is content with being a gardener after completing 5 years of grade school, whereas another individual is content with being a surgeon after completing 25 years of schooling.

In our society, do we let the unmotivated fall, so the ambitious can rise? Or should we uphold an optimistic approach of everyone becoming successful and prosperous, is this possible?

EDIT::: perhaps this would be more clear.

"If everyone gave their best at whatever they choose, would there be a niche for everyone in society?"


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    Feb 6 2013: Aaron, you asked lots of questions here. I will respond only to a few.

    In the classroom, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much growth you will be able to see in EVERY student who actually comes to school regularly and even in some whose attendance is only sporadic. Math is extremely cool and can sell itself with a little help and a lot of energy from you.

    You have to let kids engage with each other as you move around and you have to 'mix it up" so that you do a variety of things and come at material in a variety of ways. Be lively and encouraging, mix more challenging stuff with more readily accessible stuff...

    In a classroom you can and should have all winners and no losers. It's not a football game.

    If you have never watched a video or seen in person a great secondary math teacher interacting with his students, find an opportunity.
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      Feb 6 2013: I appreciate your input, I am just now entering an alternative teaching certification program.

      Do we need a strong level of blue collar workers? The students that are ambitious tend to stray away from these kinds of jobs. Do you think there will be kids inspired to be a plumber?
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        Feb 6 2013: I think there will always be people drawn to trades and crafts. But in your work as a teacher, you are preparing students to have a range of choices of career (their aspirations, but also other options they may not have considered) as well as preparing them for life outside of career.

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