Maybe I don’t hate this job as much…

I started off this week feeling very anxious about starting school. I ended the week on a much better note. I saw some students motivated to learn and some learning happening, which encouraged me. I feel like I’m developing deeper rapport with students and gaining their respect. Also, once I get back into the daily rhythm of teaching I think I’ll feel even better.

The students are my university are exceptionally bright and talented. To a certain extent, my potential impact on their lives is probably lower than here at this high school. As long as us professors don’t screw up too badly, these university students are smart enough that they are going to learn and go on to make something wonderful of their lives regardless of what we do for them. At this high school, many students are making important decisions that could significantly affect the rest of their lives. High school teachers have the potential to make a tremendous difference in the life of each of their students.

I’m still cautious about my hopes for students, however. People have asked me whether I have seen the movies like “Stand and Deliver.” Their implicit question is whether I see myself as a miracle maker like in those movies. That’d be too much pressure. I would just like to make it through this year having learned important things and helped some students learn math.

5 thoughts on “Maybe I don’t hate this job as much…

  1. Glad you’re getting back into the groove of teaching, but don’t sell yourself short as far as the impact you have on us university students. In high school I had several friends just as bright as me. The ones who ended up going to the local state school are almost uniformly disillusioned and bitter with academics and are just hoping to find a job they don’t hate. I’m not like that, and I believe it is largely because of teachers like (and including) you. Great teachers make a huge difference at just about every stage of a student’s development!

  2. I agree with Ben as well. I’ve heard this argument from you & some of your colleagues, and I think it’s oversimplified. Yes, exceptionally strong students can pick up content in bad learning environments. But you & the gang do so much more than teach content: you motivate material, you draw connections between seemingly disparate areas, you help develop good intuition and much larger contexts in which to realize the material. In fact, I even remember that someone was very proud when his students *really understood* vector calculus.

  3. I fourth what Ben said. You’ve inspired me to inspire others through the power of teaching. And who knows how many students I will inspire to inspire others? All thanks to you! 🙂

  4. Hi profteacher! I just found this blog, and am reading through it. I just wanted to say that I agree with the above comments. Taking math classes with you and the other professors at college really got me introduced to and interested in math. Thanks!

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