Why do we teach?

I have an old, photo-copied, hand-out from a workshop that I went to about 11 years ago.  Before everything was digital.  I have always had it in my ‘work space’ since I got it.  The workshop still sticks with me today, it was about conflict resolution.  We watched “The Rainbow Wars” (for a synopsis of the 20 minute movie, click here), read the short reading I’m posting below, and then brainstormed what educators can do to help teach conflict resolution strategies.

I don’t know the source of this writing, all I know is Tim Veal was one of the workshop facilitators.  I have typed it exactly as it looks on the paper I have in my workspace.  After you read it, let me know what you think about: Why do we teach?  Or anything else that the reading prompts in you.  I’d love to hear back.

     AS A TEACHER, I HAVE TAUGHT A THIEF, A SCHIZOPHRENIC, AN EVANGELIST, AND A MURDER.  THE THIEF WAS A TALL BOY WHO HID IN THE SHADOWS AND WHOM THE OTHER CHILDREN AVOIDED.  THE SCHIZOPHRENIC RARELY SPOKE BUT GAZED AT ME WITH TINY EYES FILLED WITH TERROR.  THE EVANGELIST WAS CLASS PRESIDENT AND THE MOST POPULAR BOY IN SCHOOL.  THE MURDERER SAT AND STARED OUT THE WINDOWS.  OCCASIONALLY LETTING OUT A SHRIEK THAT WOULD SHIVER THE CLASS.  THE THIEF STANDS LOOKING THOROUGH THE BARS OF HIS PRISON CELL.

     IN THE STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL, THE SCHIZOPHRENIC IS RESTRAINED FROM BEATING HIS HEAD ON THE FLOOR.  THE EVANGELIST SLEEPS IN THE CHURCH YARD, VICTIM OF A DISEASE CONTACTED DURING HIS MISSIONARY WORK.  THE POLICE NO LONGER SEARCH FOR THE MURDERER SINCE HE WAS, HIMSELF, KILLED IN A BALLROOM BRAWL.  AND ALL OF THEM SAT IN MY CLASSROOM AND LISTED AS I TAUGHT ENGLISH.

     I MUST HAVE A TREMENDOUS HELP TO THEM.  AFTER ALL, I DID TEACH THEM  THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NOUN AND A VERB AND HOW TO DIAGRAM A SENTENCE.

Again, I have proofread this, and this is exactly the same as the original in my office.

Why do we teach?

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About ibdanmagie

Generalist Educator that believes learning without action is wasteful. Transfer is an educational concept that resonates with me.
This entry was posted in Strategies, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why do we teach?

  1. Brian Neises says:

    I guess it’s to make sure that there aren’t 10 thieves, and murderers. To try and make some small impact on every individual; and hopefully to make the big impacts that can change lives.

    That, and the money of course 🙂

    • ibdanmagie says:

      It is a “big”, philosopical question, that you nailed wiht a practical answer…thnks Brian “To try and make some small impact on every individual; and hopefully to make the big impacts that can change lives.” I think I will print this out and post this by my workspace!

  2. Timothy Veale says:

    This is such a good and difficult question. I wonder for how many millennia this question has been asked. I’m currently hooked on thinking about how much difference ‘schooling’ makes as opposed to ‘education’. In my current teaching location, Denmark, there is less need for the average person to pursue post-secondary education than in virtually all other countries. Extra schooling here doesn’t necessarily result in a higher standard of living. Virtually everyone here enjoys a decent standard of living regardless of their level of schooling. I wonder what role myth plays in the typical (westerners) worldview of education…I’m enjoying reading your stuff here Dan!

    • ibdanmagie says:

      Thanks for reading, Tim! You’ve got me thinking about “school” vs. “education”; and I’m reminded of a scene from a documentary (?) I saw with a man who drove a horse drawn cart in central park. I remember him being well-spoken and knowledgable, and he said something to the effect of…”because I haven’t ever let school get in the way of my education…I never went to school.”

      As I’m typing and deleting incomplete thoughts and phrases on this comment, I think you may have given me a futre topic for a post! Thanks again, Tim.

      Take care and give it too.~Dan

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