Thursday, February 3, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Series, Post 2

Statistics shows that people read the greatest part of everything they will read in their lifetime before the age of 30. Also, the main tenets of everybody's personal worldview are formed before that age. After thirty, most of us keep recycling the knowledge, the information and the opinions we received before our thirtieth birthday. Teachers, however, keep learning as long as they continue walking into a classroom. No matter how many times they might teach the same course, there will always be new, unexpected questions that students might ask. As a result, teachers never stop learning.


Pagan Topologist said...

I hope this is true, but when I think about some teachers I know, I wonder. I hope it is true of me, of course. And I still read a lot.

Clarissa said...

People who don't learn all the time are not really teachers. They just pretend to be ones.

Anonymous said...

New knowledge, and passion for learning, and sharing that with others. That's what make teachers great. A low tolerance for bullshit is awesome, too.

I'll never forget my first History 119 class. I tell that story over and over.

Clarissa said...

Feel free to share the story. :-) Or a link to a post about it.

el said...

The 1st sentence is so depressing, meaning that after 30, after getting a job, a spouse & kids people stop growing, the time of discoveries (including ones demanding only to open a book) is past. I understand lots of responsibilities, few time, etc. Still sad. Oh is there a hope in your opinion? If I may ask a private question, do you think it's true for you too? May be it doesn't have to be true for lovers of reading? Surely not only professors can keep learning?

Patrick said...

"People who don't learn all the time are not really teachers. They just pretend to be ones"

Unfortunately, I think many peoples experiences are with the pretenders, rather than the teachers. It wasn't until University that the majority of my teachers weren't pretenders. I can name on one hand the number of 'teachers' I had in the first 13 years of institutional education.

Clarissa said...

I didn't stop reading when I got married for the first time, got divorced, raised a teenager, got married for the second time, emigrated twice, etc. :-) But then again, I'm a scholar of literature, so I don't have that much of a choice. :-)

Intellectual inertia can definitely be resisted. I'm only 34but I still feel sometimes a desire to rely on everything that I have accumulated until now intellectually. Changing one's mind, moving ahead is difficult. But this is why blogging is such a godsend. My intelligent readers don't let me rest on my laurels. :-)

Human beings have an enormous capacity for intellectual growth. People who don't stop growing usually reach their full intellectual bloom in their 50ies or after that.

So we definitely can do it!

Patrick said...

I would like to point out why the statistic, while assuming it's correct, is not valid.

The majority of reading is in fact assigned reading for school. It is often not by choice.

I would wager dollars to donoughts that reading by choice, (be it fiction, politics, biographies, scientific, etc. . .) is heavily weighted to the adult life. It is only the sheer volume of forced readings throughout the school years.

Clarissa said...

"Unfortunately, I think many peoples experiences are with the pretenders, rather than the teachers."

-Sad but true.

Clarissa said...

"I would wager dollars to donoughts that reading by choice, (be it fiction, politics, biographies, scientific, etc. . .) is heavily weighted to the adult life. It is only the sheer volume of forced readings throughout the school years. "

-An adult American reads on average 1,5 book per year.

Patrick said...

I think 1.5 books/yr is pretty good for an average. And they'll almost all certainly be by choice. I wonder if we'd be able to ascertain how much reading is done by the under 20 set by choice, rather than assignment.

Clarissa said...

I don't see what's so wrng about assigned reading. I still miss my reading list from grad school. It offered great guidelines as to what was worthy of attention.

Patrick said...

There's nothing 'wrong' with assigned reading. Without it, many kids would never get exposed to the richness and variety of literature.

I was inferring from your post that there was something 'wrong' with the >30 set because we read less than in our younger years. I was only attempting to point out that there is a valid reason why you would read more as a youngster.

Pen said...

Just out of curiosity, Patrick, how would I vote? I willingly choose to read assigned books for class. I don't have to, and I know enough about text analysis to earn top marks without reading. But I do it anyway, because I want to. Does that mean my "reading by choice" totals should suffer?

As much as you hate to admit it, there are always kids out there who like all reading, including for assignment.

Liese4 said...

1.5? Really? Right now I have 8 books piled on my table, that's not counting the books I read to my kids.

Some of the titles:
Benjamin Franklin's numbers:an unsung mathematical odyssey, The blind watchmaker, The emperor's codes:the breaking of Japan's secret ciphers, Galileo goes to jail:and other myths about science and religion, The triumph of numbers:how counting shaped modern life, Military commanders:the 100 greatest throughout history, and yes, those are by choice books I'm reading.

Books I'm not reading by choice (because the kids are reading them) To kill a mockingbird, The house on mango street, From the mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Anne of green gables and Greek history. And yes, they have unstructured reading too, I can't leave the library without 30-50 books a WEEK.

I may have to teach the same objectives 4 times over, but I have to find ways to teach those items to children with vastly different learning styles and abilities. So I read a lot so I can incorporate that into our school day.

You should learn something new almost every day, the other times you should think about what you have learned and let in sink in.

Anonymous said...

Happy to oblige!

I was a wee freshman, excited about college, getting to learn new things, and being around people like me. I was also very nervous, because what would it be like? I sat in the front row of my first-ever college class (ugh, that community college English 100 does NOT count!) when a rather intimidating older gentleman walked in. He looked every inch a History professor, with the carriage of a military officer. He started class.

Soon, three guys in the back of the classroom started to talk. And laugh. And goof around. I sighed--I was having flashbacks to high school! Dr. D stops, looks at them. (Forgive me, it's been four years, I can't remember exactly what he said.) I do remember thinking that he's not going to be able to do anything about them, they're going to keep talking, and college will be RUINED!! He tells them they're being assholes, says they're being disrespectful, and that they better be quiet.

The boys were shocked. I was absolutely giddy. My professor just called these jerks assholes! Yay! Much of the classroom was absolutely delighted. The boys were quiet.

I decided that college was awesome, that I didn't care that this professor was supposedly the second-most difficult grading-wise in the History department, and that I wouldn't mind at all walking up the Hill for his class. Over the years I learned more about this professor, and it only increased my respect for him (he was involved in University Senate, and organized the faculty to protest for domestic partnership benefits for university employees, which we got. Yay!)But that is a saga all its own.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get that statistic of 1.5 books a year? Does that mean any sort of book, even silly ones or is it just new ones? I must confess that I don't read very many books anymore, since I moved to a place with no place for a bookshelf and the library wanted to charge me $100 for a library card (not a university library, just a library), but I read more than 2 books a year.I'm not sure how many are memorable and worth mention -- so that might be why you get people saying they read only 1-2 books a year.

When I went to visit my cousin and aunt last year in Dallas, I made the fatal mistake of not bringing my own reading material because I thought I should be more sociable. We went to the public library, and since my tastes gravitate toward non-fiction, I managed to walk out of the library without any books because they were all out or in another library, or things I had read before and gotten bored of. I reread The Enchantress of Florence and Can't Buy My Love:How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel, while waiting for various appointments this year in January.

Sadly, my attention span is shot. At any rate, books demand more attention than blogs, bulletin boards, and magazines.