Thursday, March 15, 2007

Our little secret

During my undergraduate days I had the opportunity to take one of my mentors out to lunch, although he insisted on buying, me being the starving student and all.
He was one of the reasons I wanted to be a teacher. He talked to me about "bright eyes" moments when your students figure something out and come tell you, with bright eyes. They are so excited about what they've learned, or read, or seen, or tried, they have to tell a teacher, because we understand.

I love those moments, not just because I can tell I'm making a difference, but mostly because of their earnestness and their excitement. I got to thinking about my reasons for loving teaching and my goals for my students. Here's a few

1. I want them to love learning. The more you know, the more you wonder. That never stops. When we were kids learning about the planets we saw drawings of them. Now, anyone can get on a computer and see a real-life movie of the surface of several celestial bodies. Imagine that. We can see what it would be like to walk on the surface of Mars. Seen the images from the Cassini-Huygens website? Holy Sheep Shit, Batman! Look at those rings! Imagine what would happen if people stopped wondering.

2. I want them to love science as much as I do. Do you ever wonder what the other side of the moon looks like? How about the bottom of the ocean? Why do we get hot when we run? Why is Cystic Fibrosis so bad? How does Olestra fake out our intestines? Why, exactly is too much Tylenol bad for you? Why do we need air? How does a rocket ship work? Sometimes I just sit and ask my self questions, and then I'm off on another treasure hunt...

3. I want them to graduate and go on to a successful life. Kids make 10 grand more a year with a high school diploma, even more with a college degree. I know there are exceptions, but I don't count drug dealers and pimps because of their low life expectancy. Sometimes they get good grades only with great coaxing and the occasional threat, but we get our kids immunized the same way because we know one day they'll understand and thank us.

4. I want them to pass my class. Because I don't want to see some of the little shits more than once,
Wait, did I type that again? Bad Teacher!!
Sometimes the only success these kids get is at school. The only place I ever felt like any one gave a shit about me was school. I want to repay my teachers for that.

Let's keep this our secret, okay? I don't want anyone to know I'm nice and have these, whataya callits? Feelings...

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