Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’

Teaching is a Privelege

June 8, 2015

Teaching is an honor and a privilege.  I know something and you want to learn it and you are Labrador Classroomwilling to listen to me define, describe, demonstrate, and pass on the information in my mind into your mind.  Wow!

When I was in school, the teachers or instructors or professors were the authorities.  They could throw chalk at me if I dozed off.  I had to be there.  It was a requirement.  They were in charge.  I didn’t understand much of what they were babbling about.  But in fact, teachers don’t have jobs if there aren’t students.  The teacher works for the student.  It works like the Vulcan Mind-meld in Star Trek without the touching.  The students should not sit there passively just listening.  They should be actively engaged in the transfer of information. And if they don’t understand a point, they should make the teacher or instructor or professor explain it another way until it makes sense . . . until it is clear, equally clear in both minds.  I never had a teacher explain that he/she was working for me.

John Krigger says that “teaching is not proving how smart you are”.   And he’s right.  There is a definite sense of power standing in front of an audience of eager faces, hanging on your every word.  And it is tempting to drop names and connections of the famous and powerful whether you know them or not, puffing up your character.  There is a point for a teacher to establish their credentials.  But as my grandmother used to say, “Enough is as good as a feast!”  We all like to be taught by recognized authorities.  The point is not who you are but your ability and skill to transfer the information.  If you know a lot, you have a duty to pass it on.

My first teaching experience was in a one room school on the coast of Labrador.  It was the extreme authority experience.  I was just 22.  Straight out of college with no teaching training.  When the ship I came in and dropped me off, they started ringing the church bell in the town.  I learned later that they expected me to hold a service.  Tradition was that the teacher was the authority figure in the town.  The teacher made the rules . . . for the whole town!  It was akin to being the king.  No one had explained that to me so I didn’t know the tradition.  But I felt it in the respect they gave me.

It took me a lot of years to get back to teaching and even more years to understand the honor and privilege that it is to be allowed to do it.  I learn more every single time I teach.


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