Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Common Parlance: Teaching

I teach.

I don’t teach high school, where kids are forced to go to classes by law. I teach at a college.

I teach at a small, technical school.

I don’t teach at an expensive university where the students are only going to classes because their parents made them go. I don’t teach students at a school with a big name that students attend because they feel the name alone will help their careers.

I have a fun course.

I teach video games. I don’t teach how to program them, which can be boring. I don’t teach how to do the art, which can be difficult. I teach the history. I have students play games and talk (argue, really) about them. I show them how to come up with ideas.

I’m an exciting teacher.

I tell jokes. I throw things. I use slides that have lots of images. I play humorous but educational movies.

I’m a good teacher.

I fulfill the different styles of learning (visual, verbal, kinesthetic). I keep my students’ attention. I constantly improve my lesson plan and slides. I always get good reviews.

In spite of all of that, every semester I fail half to two-thirds of my students. They don’t do their homework. They miss classes. They forget to read the required materials I provide. They forget to take notes when I give them the answers to their tests. They never, ever, ask for help. They always, always ask for more time to do their homework (invariably, days or weeks after the work is due).

Merriam Webster defines teaching as imparting knowledge. I define teaching as forcing knowledge down someone’s throat.

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