Those who can't do teach? What?
“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” -Aristotle
They say those that can’t do teach... What? Is that what is wrong with our education system? As a 13 year veteran teacher this cliché both appalls and offends me. I became a teacher to help people who need my help, to teach those everyone says cannot be taught. My goal is not simply to teach, but to encourage and inspire, educate and support. Teaching is about love for your students, love of service to your community, and love of learning and education. The love I have for my students and teaching seems to be almost extinct.
Alex and AP Human Geography...
I tutored Alex over the weekend, a soon to be freshman here in Richardson, to help her prepare for her upcoming AP Human Geography class in the fall. Alex and I always have so much fun! It doesn’t feel like work to me and it doesn’t feel like 2 painful hours of tutoring to her because I go above and beyond what is in her textbook or on her worksheet into teaching her not just the facts but the interesting connections between the facts, the fascinating tidbits of information that are left out, and the life applications that the information has for her. It is not simply information to be regurgitated, but ideas and concepts to be contemplated, analyzed, and evaluated.
Her summer AP Human Geography project is to find 6 current event articles that apply to the concepts of the class she is about to take. On her own she picked out an article on the MERS outbreak in South Korea and made a list of the who, what, where, when and why; but then she had to put the article and the information in her own words. She had to write 2 paragraphs, one about the article and another about how it applies to the concepts they will be learning about in class this year. The only help she had was a list of concepts and a few example paragraphs that are way too advanced for an 8th grader.
How I help...
Instead of simply telling her to write the paragraphs while i watched, we reread the article together and I showed her how to break it down in order to summarize it in clear, concise, factual paragraphs. I explained how the what goes with the where along with the who that made the statement. I explained the need to accurately quote the officials in South Korea and Hong Kong. And then I explained how to put the statistics and specifics into sentences that give evidence to support the quotes. As well, I reminded her that academic paragraphs have topic and concluding sentences along with a variety of supporting sentences in between. For the second paragraph it is a similar process focused on connections to the topics of International Relations & Trade, Population and Mortality, as well as Health and Disease.
I can do...so I teach!
So is it that I can’t do so I teach? Absolutely not! I can do... so I teach! The bottom line here is that teachers need to be interested in not only the subject matter they are teaching, but they must have a love for their students and a passion for learning if they are going to inspire the youth of today. Alex and I had a blast discussing current events as we prepared her for her first AP class. We got excited about her starting high school and her summer assignments that are challenging yet great preparation for the years to come. Not only did she learn a lot for AP Human Geography but she learned valuable skills he will be able to use throughout her scholastic career and her life. That is what teaching is all about.