Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do you teach subjects? Or do you teach students?

Just finished reading THE ELEMENT and had to post this great excerpt in the last chapter here:

"The Element has implications for teaching.  Too many reform movements in education are designed to make education teacher-proof.  The most successful systems in the world take the opposite view.  They invest in teachers.  The reason is that people succeed best when they have others who understand their talents, challenges and abilities.  This is why mentoring is such a helpful force in so many peoples lives.  Great teachers have always understood that that real role is not to teach subjects but to teach students.  Mentoring and coaching is the vital pulse of a living system of education."

How many of us remember a great course in college by the syllabus or the tests or the papers we wrote?  Or do you remember the teacher?  

I think of some of the great teachers I've had in my life (like the amazing beacon of light Davey Marlin-Jones or the ever prescient William Esper) and I remember not just their personality or wisdom but how they saw something in me and found a way to use my natural talents.  I aspire to be that kind of teacher.

Teachers teach students.  Not subjects.

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