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Wed Oct 10, 2012, 07:45 AM

Teacher- 'His dreams of being a scientist is a waste of time, ridiculous"











John Gurdon's future success was almost nipped in the bud in 1949 when a schoolmaster at elite Eton College wrote on his report card that pursuing science would be a waste of time.

"His work has been far from satisfactory," the teacher wrote. "If he can't learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be sheer waste of time, both on his part, and of those who have to teach him."



The scientific community could argue it's a good thing he didn't.

After starting out studying classics at Oxford, Gurdon switched to zoology. In 1962, he showed that the DNA from specialized cells of frogs, like skin or intestinal cells, could be used to generate new tadpoles a breakthrough rewarded Monday with the Nobel Prize for Medicine, which he shared with Japan's Shinya Yamanaka



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2214605/Brit-Japanese-scientists-win-Nobel-Prize-groundbreaking-skin-cell-discovery-help-cure-diseases.html

28 replies, 8800 views

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Teacher- 'His dreams of being a scientist is a waste of time, ridiculous" (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Oct 2012 OP
jsr Oct 2012 #1
hunter Oct 2012 #2
efhmc Oct 2012 #3
ThomThom Oct 2012 #6
Demoiselle Oct 2012 #17
muriel_volestrangler Oct 2012 #23
MADem Oct 2012 #4
GreenPartyVoter Oct 2012 #5
MADem Oct 2012 #7
GreenPartyVoter Oct 2012 #8
skeewee08 Oct 2012 #21
muriel_volestrangler Oct 2012 #24
MADem Oct 2012 #27
h2ebits Oct 2012 #9
Diclotican Oct 2012 #10
defacto7 Oct 2012 #11
sulphurdunn Oct 2012 #12
Stainless Oct 2012 #13
Yooperman Oct 2012 #15
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #14
olegramps Oct 2012 #16
japple Oct 2012 #18
olegramps Oct 2012 #20
Tunkamerica Oct 2012 #22
MADem Oct 2012 #28
RedstDem Oct 2012 #19
Festivito Oct 2012 #25
Stainless Oct 2012 #26

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 12:23 PM

1. Awesome report card

LOL

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 04:53 PM

2. Some of my report cards look like that...

...and I ain't got no Nobel Prize.


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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 09:48 PM

3. "His dreams is"?

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Response to efhmc (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 07:43 AM

6. learnt?

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Response to ThomThom (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 06:18 PM

17. I think that "learnt" may be a correct form, at least in England.

But "dreams is" aint. And one doesn't capitalize (capitolize?) Specialize and Biologist. Sniff.

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Response to Demoiselle (Reply #17)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 07:45 AM

23. Yes, 'learnt' is fine, here; "his dreams ...is" appears to have been said by the Daily Mail

though, if it was, it doesn't turn up in the article now. The school report doesn't say it, certainly. As for the capitalisation, it may have been influenced by it being a school report, with 'Biological' being the adjective for the subject under discussion, and 'Scientist' and 'Specialist' seen almost as formal job titles. It was over 60 years ago, and that may also make a difference.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 01:34 AM

4. In America, the teachers do not write an essay to the parents about the progress of the child.

In other countries, like UK, this is not unusual. I received reports like this (well, not like this, but written out in longhand) as a child, and they were very specific as to my potential as well as my performance AND behavior in the classroom. The professors I had never ranked us, though--that 18/18 business is just cruel, like a military promotion board!

That schoolmaster was spectacularly wrong, though, wasn't he? Unless he was extraordinarily youthful, it's probable that the poor man isn't around to have his nose rubbed in his inability to see his student's potential!

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 07:40 AM

5. Our school does the essay bit. Started doing that a couple of years ago.

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Response to GreenPartyVoter (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 11:56 AM

7. That is good that your school has gone to this method.

This particular science teacher blew it way back when, but oftentimes the essay forces the teacher to pay attention to the child--it helps the teacher focus on the kid's strengths/weaknesses, because they know they'll have to pony up some meaningful, individualized words. When you focus on the kid, you focus on the learning style--it's helpful all round, I think.

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Response to MADem (Reply #7)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 01:39 PM

8. Definitely.

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 13, 2012, 10:33 PM

21. I did when I use to teach....

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Response to MADem (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 07:48 AM

24. Ranking in school reports was certainly standard back then

and in my time (1980s). Whether it's still typical now, I'm not sure. But surely American schools have done it for ages, and still do - I see GPAs and "straight A student" talked about all the time on DU, and that is also ranking the students.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #24)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 02:08 PM

27. You're YOUNG, lucky you!

I went to very small school for a time with British/Irish teachers. We were not ranked. We were in multi-grade classrooms (often there would only be one child in a particular grade) and the children simply worked to their ability--the standard lecture was geared to the smartest kid in the room, the rest of the children simply did the best they could and allowances were made. Children who were confused were taken aside and tutored individually for a bit, then tossed back in the class. There was a great deal of repetitive learning, of lecture/repeat, with the children filling in the blanks (and the professor would toss a book at anyone sleeping and they would be made to stand at the back).

Our report cards were several pages long, with detailed discussions about our strengths/weaknesses (and even the most perfect child was assigned a few weaknesses, so they wouldn't get puffed up!).

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 04:30 PM

9. So very heartening

for all of us who have had naysayers trying to convince us to not believe in ourselves.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 04:50 PM

10. Ichingcarpenter

Ichingcarpenter

I guess he got the last word in the matter.. Not the principal, but John Gurdon...

And I suspect, it is good for everyone else.

But then again, Albert Einstein was not exactly a great study himself.. And was maybe one of the greatest mind of his age..

Diclotican

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Thu Oct 11, 2012, 05:15 PM

11. Fantastic!

K&R!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 07:03 AM

12. That's elite private schools

 

for ya.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 11:28 AM

13. My college nemises.......

was a returned Mormon Missionary who was teaching Freshman composition at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah in 1965. I knew there was going to be a problem on the first day of class when many of the students started calling him "Brother". It wasn't difficult for him to figure out that I wasn't his fucking brother. As time went on, he said my writing was immature and wasn't college level work. It was all bullshit but I eventually had to withdraw from his class so I wouldn't receive a failing grade. Don't get me wrong, many Mormons are decent enough people but many more are vile, disgusting dickheads who think they are better than everyone else. Yes, Mitt Romney is one of the dickhead Mormons.

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Response to Stainless (Reply #13)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 03:20 PM

15. Thanks for sharing your personal experience....:-)

You should post your experience in a separate thread... I know there are a lot of DUers that love reading first hand accounts such as this.



YM

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 02:07 PM

14. Too bad the schoolmaster isn't alive

so he can eat his words.

I love stories like this! Never let them kill your spirit and passion!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 03:56 PM

16. Those that do, do. Those who can't, teach.

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Response to olegramps (Reply #16)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 06:26 PM

18. That is a tired, worn-out, simplistic phrase first uttered by someone who had a grudge

against teachers. I had many good teachers when I came through school. The most effective were those that let (and inspired) students explore on their own. I had a few excellent teachers who stand out 50 years later as shining examples of their profession, as well as a few rotten ones who should have never been granted a license to teach. Please don't dismiss the efforts of one of our most noble professions so easily.

The teacher who gave this budding scientist such a bad report card was a real stickler for playing by the rules. I'll bet he loved those students who sat up straight, recited upon command, and brought him an apple every day.


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Response to japple (Reply #18)

Sat Oct 13, 2012, 10:16 AM

20. Lord, lighteb up. I actually taught a math course in our local college.

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Response to olegramps (Reply #16)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 02:30 AM

22. what a simplistic and cynical cliche.

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Response to olegramps (Reply #16)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 02:11 PM

28. I thought it was "Those that can, do." But I've known a lot of teachers who could, who did, and who

then were kind enough to head for a classroom and impart their wisdom. Mike Dukakis can do. Al Gore can do. Both are or have been professors.

There are bad teachers out there. They get all the notice and the blame. The good ones don't get much thanks because we're so used to good ones that we consider them "the norm."

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Oct 13, 2012, 08:42 AM

19. That teachers opinion was his motivation

 

I know from experience, my drafting teacher told me to take wood shop, cause id never learn to draft.
I've been drawing for over 30 years now......lol

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Response to RedstDem (Reply #19)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 08:09 AM

25. I'd say that fire-under-his-butt tack worked, and still is working.

His long ago "present course" of not memorizing changed somewhere in his time and this old note has become ancient history, thankfully.

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Response to RedstDem (Reply #19)

Sun Oct 14, 2012, 11:33 AM

26. Similar Experience

My H.S. drafting teacher expected his students to conform to his method of doing things. Since I was a natural non-conformist I received a failing grade in one of his classes. I persisted and went on to take drafting in college and I later utilized my drafting skills for more than forty years as an industrial designer!

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