Book Learning

I remember one parents evening many years ago when my biology teacher called me out in font of my parents.

She remarked that memorizing and learning were not the same thing.

This was the same teacher who, on the second day of Senior Biology, pointed at me and at the closest seat to her on the front row, perched on the end of the ancient, pen-scratched lab benches and said, “This is where you’re sitting now, loudmouth.”

It took me a long time to figure out what that meant about memorizing. She had been talking about making connections between things. But we weren’t learning for that.

We would slump in the classroom or hunch over a screen and read and listen and when they asked us, “Do you understand?” we would nod our heads and mumble yes and move on to the next thing.

For many years, that and a few more reads was enough to get me through school. Memorizing. And connecting.

But it’s not enough to do well in life. Becoming great at anything requires much more than reading about it.

To be really good at something, we must perform the act of learning.

We must practice.