Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An Unfocused Inquiry about Teaching

What makes a teacher good?  Simple question, right?  I would like to think that I am and was a good teacher.  In some cases I was, and in some cases I wasn't.  End of story

This question has been coming up a lot; and now I wonder where in the day it is going to pop up.
It is not about kindergarten or college-level classes, or if the curriculum is being handled correctly. Those are all aspects that an adult somewhere has invented for a variety of reasons.

It is not as simple as academics because individuals are forging important relationships with teachers all over the world that are resulting in immense harm or benefit, that have nothing to do with reading, writing and arithmetic.

It comes down to what we each to need to know as we go along our path.

In the past two days I have been privy to multiple stories about good and bad teachers.  Intelligent teachers who have PhDs (!!) but do not know how to engage and pass along what they know.  Parents who are too young to be parents, treating their very small children like throw-aways instead of looking for the special and enthralling characteristics that could help that child achieve huge dreams.  Adults revisiting testing situations that they didn't do well in while in school, but now must pass for their livelihood to continue.  People caught in a terrible national web that doesn't even allow them to go to school.  These stories will keep coming and coming.

I return to my own experience because what else do I have?  Teachers who were not effective for me were very effective for others.  But, that does not soften the bad fit in my case.  So, maybe it is not the teacher being bad or good, but the sensitivity being on or not?  I was a creative, impatient child who wanted to try things myself.  This led to a stint in the corner for taking a chance, and decades later to a letter I wrote to my kindergarten teacher (long dead) explaining that I knew she was a good teacher but even so she had inflicted damage with her lack of recognizing good students didn't always follow her rules and classroom management is a thing of the past.  If we have to MANAGE the classroom doesn't that say a lot about the students?

I digress....

I have seen two reports that made me think more deeply, as I forge ahead on my game design and website development.  Let me just say that trying things out before one has to do them for real is a great opportunity to find what fits, and to have answers for questions that are going to come up.

What Do Teachers Make?

Parking dispute? Why don't we teach how to communicate instead of wasting valuable lives?