Firstly, I really have to figure out a better way to remind myself to do blog posts than my present system. Working on it so I don’t miss days like I did with last Friday.
So, why do I even have an opinion on what the teaching process should be? The answer is simple (-edit: the answer turned out to not be simple at all, but rather long winded and possibly off point-), I have been exposed to a large number of different teaching styles and techniques over the course of my life because of the diverse schools I have attended so far in my life. Personally, I love the Montessori technique and entire methodology and will, to this day, claim that it is a HUGE contributor to my present level of academic success (we won’t discuss how hypocritical it is to try to measure your own academic success in any manner other than GPA, and even that is flawed). For those people who don’t know, Montessori focuses on teaching the student at the student’s pace and giving the student tangible ways to see how intangible, and sometimes convoluted, concepts work. I may have missed some other principles of the Montessori technique, but those are what I got out of my own Montessori education.
Unfortunately, my Montessori education only lasted through 6th grade and from there I went to a more traditional school setting that included desks in rows and a teacher lecturing at the front of the classroom. This of course was simply a precursor to college, but it was on a small enough scale that I was able to continue to learn at “my pace” simply by having the opportunity to easily learn 1 on 1 with the teacher if I so needed. I did learn that I suck at receiving things in an auditory only format and I am STILL a slow writer (by hand that is, computers have really changed that).
My college education is now upon me (and somehow is only a year from finishing already…), and I am seeing that not all teachers picked up or experienced the better teaching practices along the way to becoming a teacher themselves. I have experienced some of the best and some of the worst teachers at Tech in 2009. The two professors that I consider the best that I have had while at Tech were good because of similar, but not exactly the same reason. The first, during the spring semester of 2009, was quite simply engaging and knew all of the students who attended class by their first names. The second one was a little less engaging (a much larger class), but the subject was one that I have a great amount of interest in (Information Security).
In the fall, I also had the incredible misfortune of taking a course from the worst teacher in my educational career (i.e. my entire life so far). The professor was unprepared for class, couldn’t answer questions in class without lots of thought, and would usually opt for answering a question in a later class. Overall, I learned nothing from this professor in a subject I had hoped to learn quite a bit from (Computer Networking 1) and am now unable to take the follow-up to this course because I don’t feel that I have the knowledge required.
So that whole long introduction brings me around to why I am even writing this blog post in the first place. It is my belief that the teacher should understand a subject better than his or her own students and that the teacher should come with the expectation that he or she are going to teach the students something new during the next class period. Instead, I have lately been confronted with a teacher that expects us to learn the entire concept BEFORE class on our own and then come to class so she can tell us that we are either wrong about what we learned, unguided, or that we should have learned the information already so that she can ask rhetorical questions of the classroom at large and not give anyone the time to answer. Overall, while the course is VERY structured with in class assignments every time we meet for class, so it is pretty easy to keep up, the professor’s style and attitude towards us as students completely turns me off to the course as a whole. I will of course finish out the semester with this class, but I do not find her teaching style to my own benefit. For all future students, it is her last year teaching this course, so don’t worry about it.