Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blog Post #7

Give Yourself Permission to Dream

Randy Pausch was a professor of Computer Science and Human-Computer and Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Randy found out in September of 2006 that he had Pancreatic Cancer, and in August of 2007 his diagnosis was 3-6 months of good health left. During these months Randy gave his Last Lecture. His last lecture was about achieving his childhood dreams and how he helped enable others to achieve theirs. Then, sadly, in July of 2008 Randy Pausch passed away. In Randy's, Last Lecture he states this, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. If I don't seem as depressed or morose as I should be, I'm sorry to disappoint you." With this being, we know he is not happy with his cancer, because he is leaving a beautiful family behind, but he is happy to leave with the many blessings he has left in not only his family's life, but his students and colleagues as well.

This is not only an inspirational video (which I took a lot from), he also shares with us "head fake." This is one way he taught in his classroom, and also one way I want to teach in my classroom one day. Head fake is when students believe they are learning one thing but in fact learning something else that is not in obvious sight. When talking about this, he is really talking about football. When he was a child he wanted to play in the NFL (along with other dreams: being in Zero Gravity, Being like Captain Kirk, winning stuffed animals, and being an imagineer at Disney). But in football, you learn some many more things than your stance, how to read plays, or where you need to be at on the field. Football teaches its players perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc., and these are the head fake. You teach students these ideas as well, even though they may not know it, and they use all of these throughout life! This is why I want to use this in my classroom.
Head Fake

Randy also mentions brick walls, and what they are. "Brick walls are not there to keep us out, they're there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something!" With this being said, I want to teach my students that when they hit a brick wall, all they have to do is persevere through it, and show it who's boss.
Brick Walls


  1. Brittney, I enjoyed reading your post about Randy Pausch’s last lecture series. I learned a lot more about his life from reading your post and you make some great points about what his life meant. His teaching method was incumbent of great educators because he thought outside the box. All the courage he had near his end to get out there and still teach was amazing, and it showed how much passion he had for education. You stated how inspirational he was, and that seems to be the essence of the man, because he gave so much and lived a selfless life. I know a person can’t just get that way in one day, and I think his football life made him realize the importance of teamwork.

    Honestly, I had no idea what he was talking about with the “head fake” (I didn’t play a lot of team sports and don’t watch them that much either), so thanks for clearing that up for me. You will make a wonderful teacher by following his exemplary example, as will I, and I hope we both see lots of him in our teachers, too. I know of one already who inspires me, and I was talking to my sister about why he had been teaching so long and not retired (she is retiring soon), and I said I wanted to be like him – doing that teaching thing because it is a wonderful profession and we inspire new minds to think in new ways. Thanks for all the information about Prof. Pausch’s teaching method.

  2. Hey Brittney,
    I remember when Pausch's "Last lecture" went viral. He was so inspiring both as an educator and a human being. So many times when we are faced with seemingly impossible challenges, we tend to insulate ourselves from society and our loved ones in an attempt to handle it on our own. Pausch did the exact opposite. He extended himself to his students and the world, and in doing so, created a whirlwind of thought that he couldn't even comprehend. He changed lives, just by the simple act of reaching out. I believe that was his greatest lesson of all.

  3. He was amazing! I love the brick wall quote. I think so many students are being told to aim low so that they don't hit those brick walls, but we should be encouraging them to do and be whatever they want. We should be teaching them to work hard and dream big, so they can face those walls and overcome them.

  4. Thoughtful. The comments above cover most of what I would say.