Thursday, January 28, 2016

Learning through Teaching

I am now teaching ~20 hours of English per week -- both in private (1-on-1) environments and in full scale classroom settings. The differences (level, age, maturity, desire to improve, etc.) are vast. 

While it is I that is doing the teaching, I feel that I am learning a great deal. 

Teaching is far more challenging than I realized. I have done training in various capacities for many years, but in a healthcare setting -- how to interact with physicians, how to utilize a particular technology, how to stay organized and composed in high risk, high anxiety areas, etc. 

While there are similarities in both realms, teaching how to tell time to 7, 8 and 9 year olds -- or the difference between quarter past and quarter till -- is far different. 

I have always preferred working with older people -- college level all the way up through adults -- and that remains true. However, teaching younger ones has been an insightful experience. 

The experience has made me a more patient human being, and has further enforced the idea that no two people learn exactly alike. What makes a concept click in one mind, only frustrates and confuses another.

My father once suggested an idea for teaching that I liked very much. The idea was that teaching was something more people did early in their professional careers, but for shorter durations of time. 

He noted (and after ~1 month, I agree) that it is a difficult role to sustain for the duration of a working person’s career. Certainly some can, but all of us struggled through classes (or for teachers -- alongside colleagues) with professors who should have moved on to something else years ago. 

He proposed (if I remember correctly) that teaching be something more people do for a modest salary for 1-3 years. If you excel, you have the opportunity to continue in this realm for an improved salary and benefits package -- an incentive to retain the very best.

Those who were less than superior would move onto other careers better suited to their insights and talents. But now - this group moves on with an improved understanding of the learning process, better equipped to tackle wherever their career draws them next.

Logistically, there are a number of items to further think through -- organization, placement, financials, etc. Nevertheless, an interesting proposal.

For those of you that teach or taught, I commend you. I now understand a glimpse of all that you do, and am better because of it. Cheers! 

$.50 Philosophy

No comments:

Post a Comment