Mamacita says: part of this post is from another post that I deleted before I wrote down the date. I’m so tech savvy and organized.
This semester, I will have to say that most of my students have been exceptionally fine. Lovely, hard-working, sincere people who genuinely want to improve themselves, so they can improve their job status, so they can improve their way of life, so their children’s lives will be improved.
Throughout my career, I have always loved and respected most of my students, and deeply resented the fact that the majority of the perks and money and attention and programs seem to go to the students who least deserve them, while those who most deserve them are expected to get by on their own. I will always resent this fact. The fact that it’s a fact is completely unacceptable to me, and I will work until I die to get this unreasonable fact changed. I doubt this will happen in my lifetime, however, so I am counting on YOU to work hard to change it, too. The lowest common denominator does NOT deserve the highest amount of praise, programs, and cash.
I never forget any of my students, but there are always a handful of students I don’t want to lose track of, either. There are always students who are too good to lose. I followed my middle school students through high school and college (not the creepy stalking follow: the interested concerned follow) and often went to their weddings, graduations, etc. Now, while some of my students are just out of high school, and, indeed, some of them are the same students I had back in the middle school, most of my students are approximately my age or older, and after I’m finished being their professor, sometimes I want to be their friend.
You know, I can close my eyes and see group after group of students. I remember where they sat. I remember things they said. I remember essays they wrote. I remember their circumstances. I can remember positive things about most of them. Others, well, sometimes I have to try harder to think of something positive. 🙂
I don’t think it’s enough for a teacher to be smart and knowledgeable about his/her subject. Yes, those things are important, but they’re not enough.
To be a good and effective teacher, I think a person must be smart, knowledgeable, and genuinely interested in the students. As a professor, I am bound by certain rules, but I am not imprisoned by them. If a person in authority does not know when and how to bend a rule, that person has no business having authority.
Because, you see, there are times to be inflexible, and there are times to make allowances. Knowing the difference can be the difference between a teacher and a machine. One has a mind and a heart, and the other can only spew out what’s been programmed into it. I have no desire to be (or have, for that matter) a bread machine. I prefer to get my hands dirty and my fingernails crusty (Eat up. Yum.)
One of my fears is that our drilled, re-drilled, prepped, re-prepped, tested, and re-tested students are going to become so out of practice and out of synch and out of even simple acquaintance with their minds and hearts, that they’ll turn into machines. Even now, our kids are pretty good at making their marks heavy and dark with a #2 pencil, but not so good on understanding WHY a certain answer is correct and another isn’t. Without the understanding, what do we really have?
We have machines. Bewitched, Bothered Machines, bullies, and a lot of bewilderment.
To quote Mr. Horse: I don’t like it. No, sir, I don’t like it at all.
(WHAT? You don’t know Mr. Horse? This is unacceptable. Go find out, right NOW!)
Knowledge is knowledge.