Could the Valedictorian Be a Crappy Teacher? Of Course!

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"Knowledge of a subject--even expertise in a subject--does not, alone, qualify you to be a teacher: excellent, good, or mediocre.  And just because you enjoy reading and writing does not mean you're going to enjoy teaching it or be any good at teaching it."

-From Tim Lemire's I'm an English Major---Now What?  Chapter 2 "Perchance to Teach," page 12

 

I'm so glad that Lemire included this statement, and others, about teaching.  It is so true that just because you are interested in something or because you are good at it doesn't mean you have the skills necessary to teach.  You could be the best at science and graduate with top grades in the class, but you might not have the patience, organization, and attitude that is required to be a teacher.  I have had quite a few teachers who have obviously only become teachers because they thought it would be easy and because they could get summers off.  Some of them have even liked the subjects, but it you got to have it all if you want to be considered a good teacher.  I also liked when Lemire wrote, "You should not enter the teaching profession by default or with a sense of resignation.  Doing so will make you a lousy teacher, and lousy teachers produce worse students..." (13). A person who is a good teacher should want to be there more for the students than for themselves.  Besides, look at how versatile the English Major is.  We have had other readings concerning its versatility, and it seems as though the students in class who have chosen English as their majors chose it because it is so versatile.  Lemire brings up a ton of great points in this and other chapters that we should all take to heart.

 

5 Comments

Greta Carroll said:

Erica, I like the points Lemire makes about that too. People should not use teaching as the fall-back career, if they can’t think of anything else to do. People, who become teachers, need to be excited about teaching. Otherwise they are just making themselves and their students miserable.

Angela Palumbo said:

I agree that you need a special gift in order to teach. I had an English teacher last year that was excellent! She was willing to take time to meet with me during the summer and go over my summer assignment. Now that's dedication!
The amount of time and effort it takes to be a teacher is something that I do not think a lot of people take into account when they think of or decide to become teaching. There is so much you have to do in order to become a teacher and a lot of extra work outside of the classroom. You have to put up with children all the time who may or may not want to learn and find ways to get across to everyone, not just a select few. Unlike many professions, teachers have to undergo life-time learning which means that we are never really done with school. Wow there is so much that teachers do!

Angelica Guzzo said:

I chose this same quote because I feel it is so important for new teachers to understand this. It takes more than just an understanding of a subject to teach it.

Lemire confuses me, hahaha. I wrote a blog entry about his quote that stated the importance of being knowledgeable in the subject that you're teaching, but then he also states (in the quote that you've chosen above) that knowledge in a subject does not mean that you can teach it. I agree with both of the quotes, but they almost seem to contradict each other. It is definitely important to know the content, but knowing teaching strategies and methods is just as important.
The problem is that there is such a high demand for teachers that some schools are more than willing to take anybody, even if they have no certification and no passion to teach. Yikes.

Ally Hall said:

I used this same quote for my agenda item. I think a lot of us identified with the chapter on teaching, since so many of us in the class are also going for our education certificates.
I agree with you (and said all of the of the same things in my blog). Not everyone who is good at a subject is going to be able to teach it. And just because you like something also doesn't mean you're going to be good at teaching.

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