Sunday, August 21, 2005

Not knowing knowledge never ennobles.

If your college instructor didn't have a syllabus ready for you on the first day of class, what would you think?

You would? Really.

Oh, okay. I'll get one ready. Tomorrow's the big day.

It's hard for me to stick to a syllabus. No matter how hard I try, a syllabus is not accurate after about four class sessions. That's one reason why I always put up a website for each class. Back in the middle school, the parents of my students could, 24/7/180, go to their child's class website and find out precisely what was done in class that day, get any assignments, and hopefully get a clue feeling about the class in general. They could always email me from the class website, too. I use the same website (Schoolnotes.com) to post my college syllabus, and any assignments. Students can also get extra credit by answering bonus questions listed on the website.

I also know teachers who won't put any contact information on their syllabus. What's with that? Sure, some people might abuse it, but most people are very considerate. If a student or parent needs to call me, let them call! I always put my home phone on the syllabus. It encourages the nice people to keep in touch. The obnoxious people will find and use your phone number anyway, folks.

I encourage it. It's part of my job, as I see my job. I do ask that they don't call at dawn, or after midnight, but why shouldn't they call if they need me for something? Helping them is my job.

Email makes it even easier. I get email from my students all the time. I still get email from students I had twenty years ago, in fact. I love it that they keep in touch.

Now that my students are at the college level, I don't hear much from their parents any more, and I miss that. Well, to clarify that statement, I miss hearing from the NICE parents. The other kind, nobody would ever miss.

I've heard lots of teachers say that their job is from 7:50 a.m. till 3:10 p.m. and after that, they want no part of it. After that, their time is their own.

Say what? Sure, we all need our own time, our own family time, down time, etc. But teaching isn't the kind of job you can just turn off like that. At least, I can't.

A good teacher isn't just an intellectual who stands behind a lecturn and spouts knowledge. A good teacher has to be more than that. A good teacher spouts more than knowledge. A good teacher tries to spout wisdom, and don't ever confuse that with mere knowledge. Wisdom, fed by knowledge, validated by experience, energized by compassion, and compounded in a cup of nurturing.

I've known teachers who didn't even know their students' name at Christmas. I find that appalling. I've also encountered parents who didn't want the school to know ANYTHING about their child beyond his name. I find that really creepy. It was a red flag. Social Services often stepped in, for those poor children, at some time during the year.

A good teacher must know more than their names.

I STILL know their names. And I also knew where they lived. I knew their parents' names. I knew the circumstances of their lives away from the school. I knew their friends. I knew their favorite song. I knew who their current crush was. I knew why they were afraid to ride the bus home after school. I knew the name of their dog. I knew what they were reading. Knowing these things helped me to find the best ways to teach them. How can a teacher not know these things?

Even now, at this level, I know these things about my students. How can a teacher truly teach, without knowing these things about their students? Everybody learns differently, and to know just how to help a student, the teacher must know these things about each student.

"I can't do that, there's no time, I have too many kids, I have a LIFE. . . . "' Oh, shut up. You can do it if you try to do it. And if you don't bother to try, please leave the profession and get some impersonal job you can leave at 5:00 and not think about till the next morning.

But all of this ranting is just me.

Administrations much prefer the "can't be bothered" type of teacher. Administrations much prefer the teachers who do their job and go home. Going that extra mile can be risky.

It sure can.

But the good ones will do it anyway.

Tomorrow morning. I'm all excited!

Because, you know, these students are going to be THRILLED out of their MINDS at the prospect of learning basic grammar and writing.

As well they should. It's fun. Really, it is.

And if it isn't, then it isn't being taught correctly.

Come on down and sit in.

Another reason I love teaching at the college level? I can do it with a diet Coke in my hand the whole time.

Coke. It's not just for breakfast any more.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:06 PM | |


I am Mamacita. Accept no substitutes! Hitting the fan like no one else can. . .
I'm Speaking at BlogHer 08 Archives Links

My Classical Blogroll

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Mamacita3855. Make your own badge here.

Credits Powered by Blogger

Designed by Swank Web Style
< <


Honors Blogrolling.com Hot 500


Lijit Search/a> < BlogHer.org Logo


Listed Subscribe with Bloglines

View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

Personal Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Listed on BlogShares


DIARIST.NET Registered!

Technorati Tags:

Technorati search

Free Hit Counter