Month: February 2015

Observations about great teachers

Mr. S.

  • he put things into context
  • he wasn’t afraid of religion or politics, but he was never insulting or condescending
  • even though he talked about art, religion, and politics… I think it speaks to his objectivity that I never did quite figure out what his personal views were
  • he cared about us–when I was withdrawing from everyone and in fact feeling suicidal, he was the one person in my life who took me aside and asked about my well-being
  • he was funny, and he incorporated humor into class all the time

Ms. H.

  • she obviously had a passion for her subject, describing mathematics with words like rich, pretty, awesome, beautiful, and magnificent
  • she paid attention to student feedback, and seemed to actually notice her students getting tired by the end of the day
  • she had high standards… it’s really encouraging when someone sets out high standards for you because it means they think you’re capable of reaching it

Ms. S.

  • she was honest with me about my weaknesses and my strengths
  • she played Scrabble with me one day when I had to visit the school on one of those ‘staff only’ days
  • she treated students like real people, and understood that many of us have other things going on in life besides school

Some teachers are no good, and I wonder if they know it. I wonder why they’re teaching if they don’t seem excited while they’re doing it. My heart goes out to them because sometimes it looks like they’re having as hard a time with us students as we’re having with them…. and for some, I’m sure they’ve found themselves feeling a bit stuck in a profession they’re not too crazy about. I sympathize.

But for those Mr. S.’s out there… I hope they know how awesome they are, what a difference they make even years after their students graduate. Why am I thinking about this? I don’t know. I do know that when I think of the great teachers I’ve had, I want to make them proud maybe even more than I want to make my parents proud or my husband happy (he thinks I’m going to get a high-paying job after I finish learning all this physics and math, and be his ‘sugar mama’ haha); I want to make them proud because they did so much for me and I’m not even their kid. I’m going to write them all letters someday if I ever do anything noteworthy!

Does something a teacher did for you or said to you stick in your mind? What makes a great teacher?

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Music & Math

I had a thought on my evening commute today that I wanted to note:

I think math must come from the same mysterious and wonderful place as music. Both can evoke feelings that words cannot describe; both can seem so true and so universal; and both can make you feel like you’re just glimpsing something that perhaps isn’t even fully comprehensible to human beings.

Wish I had more time to elaborate, but I must study.