A Higher Level GENERAL Education.

I have so many different topics to write about right now. I have been accumulating them as I go in little car trips from business to business to  business, but they will really have to wait. Why? Because is 11:35 pm on a Saturday night and I am here trying to teach Calculus to one one of my top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu students.  An I am getting infuriated. You see I did good in school, well pretty good, I graduated 4th in my highschool class, but I was the top student in Math and Sciences having finish Multi-variable Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra and all Math courses Miami Dade College had to offer. I had taken almost all AP exams ( advanced placement exams ) for Physics ( B and C ), Math (Calculus AB, and Calculus BC), Chemistry, European History, Biology, etc… Getting 5’s in all Math and Physics, 3’s in Chemistry and Biology and below 3 in European History.  Let me remind you that I started highschool with a broken English , that I was attending Miami Senior High School ( A Grade D Level school at the time). If I had decided to attend FIU I would had probably finished college within one year because I had accumulated so many credits in Highschool. Nevertheless I decided to go to Cornell University. At Cornell  I was a dime a dozen. Nothing special whatsoever among all the Asian engineering students and many of the rich kids. To tell you the truth I was below average, by the time I graduated I had caught up , but was clearly not the best in my class. I hated this with a passion. I always wanted to be the best at everything.

Ohh well, so how does this relate. Well I have been involved in the educational system of this country and looking back at it, my best education was the streets. No I did not leave in the ghetto ( at leas not most of the time), but I had a lot of growing up to do when my parents got divorce at the age of 4 and I moved to the United States alone with my mother at the age of 10.  I had a real sense of instability and of how limited  were opportunities available to me at the time. This awareness really made me seek them where they didn’t exist and hang on to any opportunity that came along. My father loved math , so I figured I had to be good at Math. Anyways despite all the limitations of the school system I didn’t leave it in the hands of the teacher. I was destined to be good at Math and Sciences. My grandfather had fed me stories of Newton, Einstein, Galileo, Archimedes, Pythagoras, and  many other scientist since I was little. These scientist were the role models that I was exposed to. I am just writing this , to allow some of the readers to see how a few early actions  on a child’s life can have an impact that  can overcome poverty and bad teachers ( to some of my teachers Tim Tornillo, Erick Hueck, and Professor Bailey, among others that really made a difference, and may one day come across this lines I just want to tell you that you where the exception among many teachers I had).

Well not to get to off topic.  I graduated from Cornell University to become a corporate slave. If it wasn’t  because mentors like Julius Park and Lloyd Irvin pulled me out of that matrix, my life would had been very boring compare to now. I do have to thank Cornell for helping me learn how to deal with stress, different people, exercising my neurons with some crazy physics, and being homeless, but the truth of the matter is that even most graduates out of our top universities go on to just simply work for a company until the day they retire with many dreams unfulfilled. Who do I blame…the educational system.

I kid you not I have forgotten most of my Calculus and Physics. It will take me about a month to start remembering everything I once knew and after 3 years of having graduated I have had to use ZERO of this general knowledge. Yes a general education. A waste of my time! Why because I could had warmed up my neurons playing chess , or even better in a more enlightening money making field that could better the world I LIVE IN.  Well maybe I am exaggerating, I guess it is nice to be able to tell people you know physics, math, calculus, computer programming an all this things when you hang out and want to feel smart ( ohh yeas and when their expression changes when they see your diploma), but really most of us will never use that. Why? Because in the world most things are 0 degrees , 45 degrees, or 90 degrees. Black, white, or gray and chemicals do not combine and make explosion out of the blue, and evolution is not as cool as in biology books bat rather slow. If those occurrences ever happened I guess we can call an expert or go looking for 1 of the millions of textbooks that get published every year to have the college students waste more money on a tuition that wont teach them how to survive on their own and be constantly looking at unemployment rates, and their employer’s mood that morning when we hit a recession.

I don’t k now if you are following so far where I am going with this rant, but hear me out. My student trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under me at my martial arts academy in Naples, FL. He is pretty technical. In one year he understand a lot of the concepts I have to share. It is not much simpler than Calculus ( the rules are not so clear in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), but what is funny is that if you miss a concept like in Calculus, it is hard to built upon it and keep up and if he doesn’t have the luck that I had to get an education in the street, or meet a couple of life changing mentors, it will be difficult.

Andrew Carnegie believed that the educational system in this country was very inefficient and that the whole country could improved if the science of success was taught in schools. This science of success was the one he sent Napoleon Hill on a 20 year journey to research and publish in the book “Thing and Grow Rich” which I really recommend everyone to read.

I super agree with  Mr. Carnegie on this.

So no I am here teaching chain rules and product rules knowing none of this stuff really matters,  and looking back at me learning it at one point has made me  I realize how easy it is to teach basic Math to others. Here are the rules, DON’T break them and I can believe that like my students there are millions of bright kids out there that did not have my same fortune to a rude life awakening that are being taught basic stuff incorrectly, wasting their time, and assuming that they are just not good at certain things.  If I had foudn a great Math Teacher in college I probably would had PHD in Mathematics and become a college professor trying to come up with some crazy fomula never discovered before. I loved at one point Math like I love Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The difference was I found a great teachers in the ladder subject. Thinking is the subject, and all in academics and in  life is thinking. There is , no I am not good at this, you decide what you want to be good at, specialize in, etc…

So ok, I will finish this article nicely, but the other day  I had another student approach me about how he was depressed because his college counselors weren’t helping him with his life , career goals, and find something he could be really passionate about, like I was about jiu-jitsu. So I sat down with him for a couple of minutes and told him not to worry about it, that life takes many twist and turns, that I would just get the diploma , and to find a job that will pay him well. That once he felt comfortable affording a decent lifestyle his soul will search for all that he wants out of life, but that is rather difficult to see in what direction we want to travel in life when we are going up a slope with an empty tank of gas. Then I told him that if after he had done this he still needed advice to come speak to me, but not to blame the guidance counselors for not being able to help him. If they knew the answer to his questions they will not be guidance counselors I said. I told him I find it difficult to believe that the guidance counselor’s dream was to be a guidance counselor.  He laughed and nodded in awe.

So there is my point, we have a lot of people teaching at schools who have not mastered the subject. They know how to solve problems but don’t really comprehend the subject, or how the students struggles learning it. Once a person comprehends a subject very well and has the desire to teach it, he/she  can make it  very easy for others to learn it.Physics is now and days very easy to learn because newton comprehend it so well that was able to express most of it in three laws. The second point is there are way more important things to teach than general knowledge that rarely applies in every day life.

Ok I feel much better….

Roberto Torralbas

P.S The problem with the educational system is a lot bigger than I described here, but I had to start somewhere. I wish I oculd sit down and speak with Napoleon Hill or Andrew Carnegie about it.

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