The Learning Curve.



I didn’t learn much history in my high school years. I had bad teachers. It may sound like a cop-out, but that’s what I blame for my historical ignorance. Had good instructors taught me, instructors with ethics and integrity (and a little pizzazz), I think I would have learned more. Writing, English, grammar—got those. I had good teachers. Math?…another time.

Time could have helped, too. Time is a serious factor, lending itself to the old saying, “practice makes perfect.” The more time you have to learn something, the better you get at it—or at least the better you should get at it. But, learning from yourself, by yourself, is often not enough. You need people.

It’s true that surveyors, mappers, civil engineers, et al can—and do—get experience in the office and field. But, formal education wouldn’t hurt some. And some won’t have the option to choose, as more and more states are passing continuing education and four-year degree requirements to become and remain licensed. I can field letters, phone calls and E-mails from you folks, half of you voicing your words against these requirements, half hooraying the mandates…but if your state passes the bill to require them, you gotta do it.

Well, I guess you don’t HAVE to do it, but it goes against ethics if you don’t. If you don’t follow the rules, you get turned in, have your license revoked or are banned from “practicing” anywhere.

A post on rpls.com recently raised the question, “Does sitting through an ethics class automatically make one ethical? Does sitting in a business class make one a business person?” Good point, I thought. Just because you go to a class, “pass” the course and receive a credit, doesn’t mean you know the topic. Good teachers are what you need, both in a formal educational setting and an informal work setting. Experience in the field with other ethical surveyors and business people—THAT will make you ethical. Working diligently in the office to get the work done—THAT will make you a business person. Listening to others and being tested on things you may not have otherwise encountered without a university course—THAT will help you understand certain principles and practices.

And in my view, if you didn’t go to any meetings to voice your opinion on the education issue, then you have no right to complain. It’s the same as voting in any realm. The only time the sentence “My vote doesn’t count” is true is when you haven’t voted. Nobody’s view is telepathically read. So speak up.

If you don’t like a bill even after it passes, keep pressing. There are bound to be others with your view who will (hopefully) stand up to fight with you. But, you have to do something; you can’t just sit back.

However, if you don’t want to go to school, you can learn by visiting rpls.com, the leading bulletin board for the profession, which reached more than 100,000 posts in June. This board is an educational (and social) forum all its own. Visit and find out.

I, on the other hand, have to go read my history lesson—again.