Every company and every industry is comprised of people that are in it for the right reasons and the rest who are just going through the motions. The teaching profession is no different. However, I have a lot of respect for great teachers and I had the good fortune to have seen some of them at work. Below are some examples.
Ability to Transfer Knowledge
Transferring knowledge is not easy and I’ve had experienced some of that myself.
For a credit in high school, I helped as a teaching assistant in a grade 10 programming class. I remember having a hard time transferring the programming knowledge I already obtained to other younger students. I remember attempting to explain concepts in different ways. If one way doesn’t work, I tried another.
Later in university I also often felt that the course materials could be explained in ways that might be more understandable. When I finally understood something the professor was teaching, I sometimes think to myself that the concept could be explained in a differently way and I would’ve had easier time getting it.
This is one of the reasons why I respect teachers for what they do. Some teachers are better than others at this. Certainly some professors are much better than others at this.
I love seeing people who are passionate about what they do. The excitement rubs off on others. I think of my university math professor who showed a genuine love for his area. This professor even held extra sessions outside of classes to show students math applications in the real world. I hope everyone knows why they’re learning something and the impact in the real world it has. Math is truly amazing and has so many applications.
I wish people are in the profession they’re in because they care, or at least have the integrity to do things well. In Seattle I met some teachers who really cared about the students and I have so much respect for them.
The teachers I met not only spent their own money but also spent their time to tutor kids from low income family after school. Each kid gets a snack and have a chance to win some prizes each time they come to the tutoring sessions. The education system doesn’t pay for this. It is unaffected by budget cuts. It comes from teachers’ love for the kids. One of the teachers even brought her sister and mother to help.
In our society time is even more expensive than money. The fact that there are teachers that go above and beyond their “job” is awesome. It’s like software companies wanting to find hackers who tinker with stuff and contribute to open-source projects. Teachers like these show that they really care and they became teachers for very good reasons.
The best thing that some teachers gave me was simply the fact that they challenged the class to do more than they ever imagined they could. Parents and teachers shouldn’t always make things too easy for kids. It doesn’t help with their self-esteem having things the easy way.
As it had been the tradition for several years in my high school, the OAC programming class involves a final project of students’ choosing. My teacher simply allowed the students to choose whatever challenge they wanted to tackle. My group went on and created OCVolume and the experience of overcoming something so big at the time really built up my confidence.
The teachers would stay after school’s over and supervise us in the computer lab. They don’t necessarily know how to tackle the programming issues we were working on, but the best thing is the time they spent and the environment they created.
These are reasons why I have a lot of respect for great teachers. I’ve had my share of teachers who don’t care. Some teachers don’t even know students’ names after one whole semester. But whenever I think of bad teachers, I remind myself that in any large group there are always those who are in it for the right reasons. You just know it when you see it.