(in response to the #ccourses question Why do you teach?) 1 min read
I have always been hungry – hungry to learn, hungry to know and connect to people, and hungry for homemade chocolate chip cookies (I completely blame my sugar-coated childhood for that one).
As for the question why? Why is one of those questions that applies to something – why this or why that, certainly begging an answer. ‘Teach’ is a loaded word that is in common, with, and, but, although, and despite its many connotations.
Liora Bresler spoke at the 40th SEMPRE conference and gave me a new way of thinking about it when she said that all research is really ‘ME’-search. That resonated, and made me think – that is what learning is about as well – a sort of ‘we’-search. Yes there are skills and facts too, but who does it? Not the teacher. The learner, the student, the me. So I don’t think of teaching or learning as a book, or a directive, and I don’t have a start or an end to it, but it is my fire: consuming, life-giving, and something that can radiate between people.
Back in the olden days… teachers often ‘taught’ in a very different way. I have an essay one of my relatives wrote in gradeschool in the 1950s, after being pulled up for talking. It starts like this:
As you can see in my photo above, I couldn’t follow that advice. I’d rather sing out and reach someone, even if for a fleeting moment. I believe in people and in people believing in themselves. Self-efficacy is my bag really. Each of us has a voice and you never know who you might connect with next, where they will go, and how those connections will spread. If as a ‘teacher’ I give/show/foster/allow something that connects once with a single person… that just grows the fire.