Posts Tagged ‘master teacher’
After a few months of student teaching, my master teacher took a sharp turn. While at first she was appropriately demanding and critical, by April, she became complimentary.
I liked how you presented this excerpt, and had them look for different things in the Second Treatise. That was good.
The compliments were never frequent, but by April, they were all I got. There’s no way to put me off like a steady diet of nothing but compliments.
Compliments seem like the sweet thing to do — who likes pessimists, anyway? — but they have to be tempered with some fiber, some meaningful substance. Compliments bolster the ego, but after that cotton candy feeling wears off, I’m left with nothing but the memory of warmth.
Not that compliments aren’t intoxicating. I misinterpreted my master teacher’s rationale for all the compliments, thinking: Gee, maybe I’m getting really good at this.
That wasn’t it at all. After confronting her about it, we talked our way to this:
It’s just that every time I tell you something, you try to explain yourself. You never listen to me. You even argue with me about every little thing. I just got tired of it, and I gave up trying.
Then I argued with her about every little thing she said.
My family relishes spirited argument, so I was hardly writing you off. If I argue about it, that means I am listening to what you say. If I argue about it, that means I care about what you say. I requested to have you as my master teacher because I knew you were tough on your student teachers — I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Without your criticism, I laid back. I got lazy. I became laissez-faire attitude toward my student teaching, come what may.
Student teaching was never quite the same, in that light. That’s what cotton candy compliments will do to you, so think about that next time you have the urge to put politeness over honesty.
Cotton candy compliments are why a trainwreck show like American Idol can exist — we get so caught up in all the nice things others say about us that we go off and embarrass ourselves, sometimes on national television. We need the unpleasant fiber, the “Really, Steve. Don’t go to that audition. You suck.”
Even worse, sometimes we’re so hopped up on compliments that we ignore the that lone, deflating voice of dissent, saying, “What do they know? Everyone else says I’m just like Freddie Mercury.”
We shouldn’t substitute cotton candy for fiber, however unpleasant it is. If we do, pretty soon we’ll end up like Red, here: full of crap.
How this relates to students, teachers, coworkers, friends and relatives is left as an exercise to the reader.
Throughout the Middle East, many Muslim women wear burqas. It is meant to conceal the woman’s identity, and in the West tends to be seen as a cruel manifestation of a chauvinistic patriarchy, where women are repressed sexually.
Note: I didn’t say that. The West did.
Enter Ms. Bees’ anecdote. To fulfill a broad prompt for an English class, one of Ms. Bees’ students volunteered to wear a burqa for a period of time, and then to write a report about her experiences.
What makes this not your run-of-the-mill-Midwest-girl-wears-a-burqa story is because the teacher reflects on the effect the burqa has on the onlooker.
That’s when I realized that something else was going on in my brain. Maybe it was the religious feeling of the garment, or just the girl’s courage, but I was treating Lisa with an entirely new level of respect and deference.
The sociological impact of a burkha is not, apparently, limited to its native lands. It’s a hardwired response – the cause and effect are not where I thought they were. I couldn’t resist my reaction to Lisa if I’d tried.
Of course, the post laps at the resident burqs-are-a-symbol-of-a-latent-patriarchy Kool-Aid, but this excerpt brings a point of contemplation: However much burqas keep women from expressing themselves — which, perhaps, they don’t — they do, in a sense, confer an “entirely new level of respect and deference.”
Is it time for the West to stop using the burqa as a symbol of repression, or are her albeit pulled-out-of-context comments also out of line?
Arguments concerning vocational education have come and gone. In an era characterized by the push to getting all students to college, critics view this push as detrimental to the value of a college degree and, most importantly, to lives of the students. College isn’t for everyone, they say, and we’re wrong to assume that.
As such, the current argument for bringing back woodshop, autoshop and welding classes goes a little something like this:
What is the role of schools, but to prepare students for jobs? We should re-delegate that responsibility to the high schools and trade schools, where job training belongs, rather than impose that on colleges and universities.
Moreover, students who won’t go to college will just tune out school. Bringing back vocational programs will keep the bored students from skipping classes entirely.
My master teacher and I had a lengthy discussion about this idea, and we came up with no answers. I suppose if we did, we’d be busy writing some groundbreaking doctoral dissertation, earning the appreciation of all teachers ever along the way. We aren’t.
Sure, we could bring back, say, welding. But eventually, all the welding jobs will go to robots. They won’t need, or need as many, professional welders. We’d be preparing our students for jobs that won’t exist.
There’s always information technology. Google is making a few billion dollars, isn’t it?
But what is a Google? What does it Google produce? Can you go to a store and buy a Google?
That’s what I worry about with our economy. We used to have a lot of manufacturing jobs, but we don’t, anymore. Our economy is leaning towards companies like Google, which have no tangible product.
Google is an extension of information services and the advertising industries, two industries which, frankly, aren’t going anywhere.
How much of our economy could be information services and advertising, though? Those industries can’t keep growing forever; our entire economy can’t be based on marketing.
We left it at that. Vocational education can’t stick around with the tentative and unstable waves of the future, and it can’t go ahead and stick with the echoes of the past.
We agreed on this: Vocational education should exist, and should be an integral part of the high school curriculum. We just don’t know how.