What Do You Think?

I got my haircut today. I mention this because the barber was nice enough to fit me in before someone else’s appointment and because the barber agreed that shaving my head bald would be a bad decision. I wasn’t seriously considering shaving my head bald, as I am convinced under the hair is something shaped like a potato. The barber confirming my thoughts was reassuring.

Which transitions nicely into today’s lesson in class, the portfolio is mine.* The answer to any “Should I” question about the portfolio will always be answered by “What do you think?” Frustrating. Until you get the joke or see the funny. At the time, a few days ago, I didn’t get the joke. Today I did. Sometimes you have to see someone else struggle with a situation before you see the joke.

“What do you think?” is a parents response. “What do you think” is not a blowoff response. Nor is “what do you think” a response from someone who does not have an answer. At the time you ask, “Should I” and you get “What do you think” that may be what you are thinking about response. “What do you think” is an answer-question that is supposed to get you to think about what you are asking. More than that, “what do you think” is a way to help you to take a position.

Should you include that sample? If you say yes, why? If you say no, why?

I had to watch another student go through that today, to see the light go on in her head, that the professor was not evading the issue before I realized what was going on. I laughed. Not at the student. I was laughing at the professor’s clever, but simple, answer-question to thinking method. I was laughing at me, for not seeing the forest among the trees. I am a parent. I do the same damn thing all of the time. But at the time I was getting “What do you think?” I had gotten stuck in a rut. The rut of being a student.

Being a student to me is a mindset that I adopt from time to time, especially with material I am not familiar with. The cynic is pushed to the back so that the learner and listener can come forward. My student mentality absorbs information to be analyzed later. Thus questions asked when I am in student mindset are meant to clear away obstacles, such as, “This is unfamiliar territory, what do you think I should do.” I understand why people who have been students continuously for their lives get stuck when asked to think for themselves for the first time.

That being said, I am in familiar territory with this portfolio. A portfolio is no different than any other self-directed project of mine. This time I get a grade. The cynic will be in charge from now on. I got the joke. I think I helped the class see the joke as well. What was the joke, think for yourself and make your own decisions. I didn’t say the joke was funny. Well to me it is, but I am old.

* My pre-portfolio is being assembled on Scrawlings of a Mad Man, under the Vanity Project Header. Come watch as I gather together my samples and play around before I put together the final project.

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