A Log For Them to Sit On

A teacher and two young students get a jump on the day’s lessons just after the morning Populi delivery in this 1905 photograph.*

Somewhere some place in some book or some other thing goes a proverb along the lines of, “Education consists of a wise and caring teacher, a humble and curious student, and a log for both of them to sit on.”

A bit mawkish, perhaps, but there’s still something to it. The word “education” itself—the Latin root meaning, as it does, leading out—implies a particular arrangement: You need someone willing to share their understanding. You need another person who's willing to receive what’s being shared.

And the log: you need a place for them to sit, to have the kind of leisure that lets the one speak and the other listen.

In the saying’s economy, the log is all the stuff at a school that isn't a teacher teaching and a student studying. Buildings, staff, administration, budgets, infrastructure, donors, software—especially the software—these all exist to support that fundamental exchange. That means that here at Populi, we're in the log-parts business. And whatever their marketing language might claim, every other software vendor out there also sells nothing more than log parts. If a company promises to unlock unlimited possibilities to unshackle teachers and students and take education beyond any place it’s ever gone before—or some similar bloviation—well, there’s a pithy barnyard phrase for that.

It's up to the teacher to care and speak. It's up to the student to listen and do. And the log? Its job is to be sat upon. To stay out of the way. Log-part vendors like Populi have a duty to make the log comfy, to shear it of pointy branches, and keep it free of ants and beetles. Nothing more. If a company starts putting on airs about how it’s part of the conversation or how it frees education from the constraints of sitting, it's missing the point entirely. And it’s probably hoping that you will, too.

But Populi knows what it’s here to do. Our purpose is simply to help the log do its job: to help your people free up teachers and students to pursue what matters.

* Image Credit: “Sleigh Loaded with Logs [07]”, White Pine - King of Many Waters Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections, https://www.lib.uidaho.edu/digital/whitepine/items/whitepine102.html