Pursue your passion

I am a going to be a freshman this fall but, all up until 8th grade, I was confused with my outlook on life, in a sorta common way for an adolescent teenager. When someone asked me who my role model was, I would say “I dont know” with a quiet and very slurred voice. I had no clue what I would do with my life. I thought, “I’m only like, 13 years old. I don’t really care.”. I had only one motivation but it was only temporary. My motivation was Adderal. Adderal is the drug used to treat ADHD. When I started taking the drug in 7th grade, my performance improved in school, but my attitude towards it didn’t.

I thought every teacher I went through was just doing there job, and thats all it ment to them. I thought being a teacher would be one of the easiest jobs to do. All they did was read stuff out of a book for 6 hours a day. No more, no less. A teacher wasn’t a role model to the student, and neither was a student a role model to a teacher. A student and a teacher had a six hour relationship, that by 3:15, the student learned almost nothing from the teacher, and the teacher learned nothing from the student.

In 7th grade I started playing drums and I loved playing them. The band director asked me to join the percussion section. This was the one thing I was good at. I played no sports, and was in no clubs. My view on life started getting brighter. Opportunities opened up at school and eventually at church. I am very proud of myself when it comes to music. I feel that I will be successful in music some day but I have something else in mind far more interesting than music. But I didn’t at the time.

When school started in 8th grade, I only expected another year of stuff I’m going to forget when it comes to summer. So far, I was right. I was right anyway, until fourth period. When I walked into “Mister Kruse’s” room, I noticed something different. There were no text books on the floor, looking like they were about to be passed out. But there was a supply list written on the board. It goes as follows; Composition notebook, and pencil. That was all we had to bring to class. He told us the notebook was for taking notes, not for assignments.

He handed out several sheets of paper with statements on them like, “Scientist work alone” and “Science dosen’t involve creative thinking”. There was a little blank space with just enough room to write to letters on it. There was a code at the top, corresponding to the two letters you wrote. The two letters, Corresponded to how true you thought it was. He said “There are no right or wrong answers. Just put what you think. This is not graded.”. I was beyond confused to why he would do this.

I thought he was a cool teacher so far. Not to different. But I thought he was just a bit of an oddball by how the class discussions were run. The class discussions were very different for all of us. Not once in that school year, did he say “You’re wrong.”. He just gave us some evidence or an idea arguing or agreeing with what we just said. It seemed like he was just another student and that we were having casual discussion. While other people and me might throw off the discussion for a little bit, he would play along till it got out of control.

How he ran his class was one thing, but the way he talked to you was another. A few times, I would come after school or during lunch, either for punishment or to ask him a question. The punishment wasn’t really punishment. He told you what you did wrong, and told you what you should do to correct it and even get your input on it. And he said it, in a way that you really understand. He showed me his blog one day after school and another time he showed me his twitter. This is where he taught me a good lesson I will use all my life. Work as hard as you can at what you’re passionate about . He showed a good example of this. Although he gets paid, he publishes what he learns on the internet.

While alot of what Mister Kruse publishes is science, his blog is not. It’s obvious his passion is teaching. He told us, he didn’t like calling his class “earth science” but thats what it was. I saw it more as a “Life” class. At the end of the year, Mr. Kruse made a project for students and it was called the “pursue your passion project”. He said it could be on anything as long as it’s class appropriate. The finished product was due at the last day of school.

My first idea was music. Although I knew alot on music theory(More than most 8th graders), it was to difficult and I changed my project to “STD preventions and awareness”. Although that is one of my passions, it’s not my first choice. Towards the end of the year, he cancelled the project. I still wonder why he did. Maybe he wanted it to be more about ‘doing it because it’s your passion, not for a reward(a grade)’. Or maybe he just thought it would be to much for him to grade and maybe we weren’t working hard enough. Either way, it was a good way to teach students what was ment to be teached.

I think Mr. Kruse is someone who inspired me in a way that changed me. I have learned alot from him, as he might have learned something from me. I think teaching is a very mysterious thing. “It’s more than just the facts. It’s about being able to apply your knowledge  to new situations.” is what he said. Well, to my memory. But thats what he taught. Of course, it was more like a jumpstart to learning. I learn from people everyday. He helped me become more successful, ambitious, and confident in what I do, as Mr. Kruse taught me.

Here is a video of a class discussion.

8 Comments on “Pursue your passion”

  1. Dean Mattson says:

    Wow, this was so beautifully written! You certainly have a lot to teach anyone who cares enough to pay attention. I will keep what you wrote in mind as I try to become a better teacher myself. Thank you.

  2. Joy Lowell says:

    I’m glad I saw the retweet about this. It’s great. My favorite sentence is “I think teaching is a very mysterious thing.” I’ve been a teacher since 1981, and I think so too.

    I am going to share that sentence and thought with a lot of people in the next several months.

    Thanks Les.

    • lesrahn says:

      I just thought it would be interesting to get a students view on a class. Most students don’t know what a good teacher is, because they don’t really care. But I’m glad you got something out of this post.

  3. John Sowash says:

    Writing a reflective post like this demonstrates great wisdom and insight that few students possess. Mr. Kruse should be very proud, as should you, for taking full advantage of his instruction.

  4. whatever it takes, do your passion.

  5. Lindsay O'Dell says:

    I didn’t realize someone else took mr.kruses teachings to heart as much as I did. You’ve got more talent outside of the drums, I think. You’re a really beautiful writer. I’m impressed, Les. God Bless.

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