Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Being a Good Teacher

I ran across a list of 6 things that apparently "made a good teacher." I'll post it in another entry, but one part caught my eye. In it the writer shares his inspiration - that's right, inspiration. In education, you see, we don't learn from experience, we learn from inspiration. Additionally, we don't learn from education exemplars, we learn from business ones.

"Doug Johnson on the Blue Skunk Blog discussed what made a good boss. This list has been adapted from his comments about a great boss.

But Mr. McGuire, wait. A good boss is not a good teacher.

A boss pays you. From the start, you are expected to be capable of doing everything the job requires. Boss expects you to be knowledgeable, erudite, and capable of doing the job you were hired for ... whether that entails good people skills in a cooperative job environment (the whole 21st Century thing which isn't anything new) or a cubicle keep-to-yourself and get the work done kind of job with minimal contacts beyond the check-in and coffee urn. The boss does not expect to teach you. You improve yourself or not. You accomplish your job or not. You get fired or not. You finish for the day and you go home. If you enjoy the work, bully for you.

A teacher does not have the same expectations of his charges - they don't know things. They don't know math, they can't write well, they're ignorant of history ... that's why they are enrolled. A Teacher cannot approach his craft in the same way as a Boss.

Everything about dealing with students is based on the fact that this society doesn't believe they are capable of making appropriate decisions or fending for themselves; everything about dealing with employees is based on the fact that they are and they can. Tread carefully if you try to cross these lines for you risk looking foolish.

Students aren't deemed responsible enough to be allowed to do choose whether or not to do anything - don't blame me for it, it just is.
  • choose to smoke (laws)
  • choose to drink (laws)
  • have sex, (age limits, etc.)
  • show up, (truancy laws)
  • take an aspirin, (all those restrictions)
  • slack off, (we need to inspire them, make learning fun)
  • bring a pencil, or materials, (I just give them one if it's the occasional forgetfulness, but I'm not happy when it's a habit. They still get one but I scowl.)
  • leave the building, (it's a closed campus)
  • go to the bathroom, (without a pass and in some places there's a quota, for chrissake.)
  • drive a car (restrictions abound)

A girl CAN get an abortion without parental permission, but that's the exception that proves the rule.

This business model doesn't apply here, Sir, even if it does inspire you.

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