Friday, January 14, 2011

Teaching through the Invisible Wall (revisited)

A while ago, I wrote a blogpost called "Teaching though the Invisible Wall" which talked about my problems relating to my students. Having taught a few more groups of students, I have a slightly different perspective on how to relate to students.

My problems in "Teaching though the Invisible Wall": I was wondering whether it was the position of authority that barred me from my attempts to be accessible to the students. I tried to do those things that I wanted my teachers to do, such as eliminate silly games and focusing the techniques that were the most reliable. It did not seem to help.

This current class is different. They are eccentric: smart, diverse, and often sleep-deprived. Perhaps the members of this class are more like me than my previous classes. They seem to like me. At the beginning of the class, a few of the students seemed to think I could not be particularly intelligent because I was teaching SAT preparation. However, one of the students who so clearly looked a little askance at me the first day actually asked me why I was not a "real teacher" in a way that implied that it I was good enough to be whatever it was he deemed a "real teacher" to be. Maybe I have changed my style or grown acclimatized to students without realizing it.

Another possibility is that I have changed my style. I do not compare myself and my applications to those of my students, but I rather try to remember the things that they talk of so I can ask after them. Maybe it is not for a teacher to say "I know the stresses of being a student" but rather "your life is of interest." I am not sure. Perhaps the next class will prove some kind of a test case.

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