Headmaster’s Thoughts – July 2011

To my new BFF:

I found you on Fritter, and I wanted to let you know that I will add you to my You Cube very soon. In the meantime, could you send me a picture of someone else because I do not actually want to see you.

I say this, because I really am not interested in communicating with anyone who found me on a website and decided that I am the only person they can relate to without meeting me, without knowing what I stand for, or without knowing if I am really an awful person. I happen to know it is called Twitter, which is as good a name as Fritter; and You Tube, which seems to make as little sense as You Cube. I know that members of Congress seem to be absorbed in abusing the process and that some students believe that meaningful relationships can be formed with perfect strangers.

I am of the old school. I believe that I can tell more about a person from actually meeting them face to face. Maybe we should call this “literally meeting face to face” as opposed to Twittering or Facebooking. If you give two children a math problem in a class where they are physically together, studies (which I truly believe) show that they will solve it in a third of the time it would take them to solve the problem if they were only connecting through a computer, even if they were “Skyping” each other. I believe that is because our face gives away a lot about what we are thinking in the most subtle ways, ways that even a computer cannot pick up.

Yes, I am aware that I am out of touch. However, I want to be in touch (mentally), and so I actually meet people (physically). I try to meet every student and parent who applies to York Prep. I don’t know what I am looking for, but I feel that whatever it is, I am more likely to connect if I have a face-to-face interaction rather than using any other methodology science can offer. As I said, I am of the old school.

I am impressed by the wordage of websites: Google, Zappos, Microsoft—clever words chosen because some marketing team thought we would remember them. I am sure they are right. I do remember them, and now they are part of our everyday language. I applaud the inventors who are clearly very smart people. And I like to use my computer because I can erase my mistakes more easily when I type. I never liked the old Wite-Out stuff you had to smear across the page. (You younger readers will not know what I am talking about.) I like being able to photocopy and do not miss the purple stained fingers that resulted from mimeograph copies. I even like overhead projectors, although I do not use PowerPoint when I teach because I think everyone stares at the screen; frankly, I would rather they stare at me. I want them to get those subtle signals I talked about in the last paragraph.

So, my new best friend, I will not join your site, I will not reveal any details of my life; I will not reply to your request to be my new best friend. So sry, LOL

Ronald P. Stewart, Headmaster
E-mail: rstewart@yorkprep.org

“Headmaster’s Thoughts” for previous months are archived in the section More News. You may access additional months by clicking Headmaster’s Thoughts Archives on the same page.