Changing the Way We Think about Education in an Age of Overwhelm with Juggling Acts and SOS Flares

We’re about to get hotter than Carolina Reaper peppers with the “Take My Class for Me” thing. Before you jump to the conclusion that this means cutting corners, or trying to pull a fast-one on your professor, let me explain. It’s not that we are dumping integrity out the window; rather, it is about understanding why such a plea has been heard in many college classrooms. Read more?

Picture yourself as someone who is juggling many more balls than an average circus clown. Then there are the job changes that take up your studying time, as well as family matters that require attention. And don’t forget to try and maintain a healthy social life, so that you do not become a recluse. The thought that someone else could take on one of the spinning plates is pretty appealing, right?

No, I am not suggesting that we hire doubles as stand-ins at our classrooms. There’s more to this request than you might think.

First, we thought online courses would be our savior. It sounds good on paper: flexible schedules, learning at your own speed. It can sometimes feel more like riding a bicycle than like a noble animal. You can feel lonely in cyberspace if you don’t have someone who will guide you.

Ethics enters the scene. Cheating? Big no-no. In kindergarten we were taught to not peek into our neighbors’ coloring sheets. You have to ask yourself if there is a system problem when the students seem overwhelmed with deadlines.

Talk solutions instead of pretending to have found the holy Grail under a mountain of textbooks. We could use technology to our advantage – less Terminator and a lot more Wall-E. Imagine a learning platform that delivers the content you require in small bites rather than bombarding it at you.

Why not change the way students are tested on what they have learned? Perhaps swap the boring, multiple-choice exam for projects and portfolios demonstrating what your students are capable of.

Take my class, please. This phrase isn’t just a laziness; it is a warning shot by students who are overwhelmed by sluggish education systems.

We can look forward (with a dose of optimism and caffeine) and talk about how to create learning environments where students don’t simply survive but thrive – where the are engaged, encouraged, and perhaps even having some fun.

The next time you hear “Take my classes for me”, maybe you won’t immediately jump to judgement. We should instead see this as an opportunity to rethink the way we teach in our crazy times. Learning should not be a drain on our energy.

As a conclusion, (yes, I did say no fluff, but be patient), to navigate these rough waters, we need more than just pointing our fingers. We also need open dialogue, creative solutions and, maybe, just a dash of humor. Because, after all, why would anyone want to try to sort things out if they couldn’t have a good laugh?

The next time you hear “Can I hire someone to teach my online course? We should perhaps ask them why they feel this way rather than jumping on our moral high horse. Listening is the first step to understanding, even when what you hear may make us uncomfortable.