I just finished up a test in my "Baptist Heritage" class. I had familiar experiene today as I walked in for the test. As I finished up my last minute cramming, looking through notes, praying for help, I thought "I will do better on the next one." If I've thought that once, I've thought that 100 times. It is usually at this point when I realize how bad of an "academic student" I truly have become. So here is my rant on why I have a hard time with school! (before writing, I must defend the fact that I at least have 3.3 g.p.a) :-)
#1: I am very A.D.H.D.
This means that I have a hard time focusing on what the professor is saying... most of the time. In addition, I am able to get internet in class. I often spend time facebooking, blogging, checking email, and lots of other various tasks while sitting in class. I am really hoping that for the second half of this semester, during my last class before graduating I can pay attention... kind of. (my professor is actually gives great lectures, i am the one with the problem)
#2: I don't do well on tests.
Most of the time when I receive the test in class, I look it over it and can't remember ever thinking about half of the content on the exam. In addition, I often feel like tests are such a false representation of knowledge. One can learn how to beat the system, memorize information and actually remember very little.
#3: I learn by doing
By nature I am an activator. I prefer to actually be making things happen, strategizing, mobilizing people, casting vision, reading books on life and leadership and then applying all of this stuff in "reality". I understand that seminary helps shape my theological understanding and the experience has been very helpful for shaping my character, building perseverance and faithfulness. However, in all honesty most of the helpful information for ministry and theology has come from the reading the bible, studying good books, asking lots of questions of good mentors, and staying focused on being a learner outside of class. Evaluated experience has personally been my best teacher.
All leaders are learners, right? I just think leaders learn differently. Leaders learn through evaluated experience. Often times the classroom does not stimulate evaluation, it stimulates regurgitation, and requires very little practical experience to receive your degree. This year thousands of students will graduate from seminaries all over the country and go to take jobs as pastors and various other ministry positions. Most of them will have no clue how to be successful and effective with their work. They will not know how to connect with people who are far from God, they will not know how to resolve work related conflicts, they will not know how to get a vision from God and then empower people ministry, and much much more. Does this make you sad? It breaks my heart and I believe this is one of the greatest problems facing the North American church. We have way too much unhelpful information with very little application, and way too little transformation.
Whenever I am faced with academic decisions it is very difficult for me to focus my time and energy on studying long hours for stuff that I will forget within 3 weeks of learning it. In addition to this, I've been way involved in the local church during seminary, and in all of this school has pushed me away from school. My heart's desire is to be a part of a church and a movement that changes the world, I want to be used by God to reach my generation, I want to see people with broken and messed up lives discover what it means to know that Jesus Christ is a God who loves them deeply and longs for each and every one of us to know him personally. May the decisions I make and the way I live lead me to that end!!
PS, My professor is a brilliant man who is a great writer, great thinker, and dearly loves God. My comments are regarding a system problem not a professor problem.