Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Passion for Teaching

I would like to postpone the post on exploring human biology in virtual education because I was asked a question that I found both disturbing and intriguing. The question is this:

"Isn't true that because you teach online you can't demonstrate any passion for what you teach because you don't see the students face to face and they don't see you?"

My answer to this is emphatically no! It is not true. This type of question I consider to be on the same level as the often used clichee by non-teachers that: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." My response to this clichee ,that is used mindlessly when there is some disruption in the education world, is: Those who do are able to do because educators in their lives equipped them, encouraged them and yes even inspired them to see the potential that they had and cared enough  to devote a good portion of their lives to help young people realize their dreams. Another thought to keep in mind is if teaching is as mundane a profession as the clichee indicates then why is it that when a military coup occurs in a third world country, teachers are the first group to be targeted for either imprisonment or execution? It is not because of teacher unions. It is because educated people who have a passion for teaching also have a passion for teaching people how to think for themselves. Notice that the wording of that last statement is precise. It does not mean that we violate the integrity of what we do by teaching students or influencing them on what to think. This is where it becomes indoctrination and not teaching. This has been true since the time of Socrates.
Just because a teacher teaches online does not mean that they lose their passion for teaching. Having a passion for teaching means you are driven to provide an excellent and enriching experience for the students involved. As an educator you are driven to find new ways to convey the passion that you have for what you teach using what the online environment has to offer. The combination of your passion for what you teach and knowing the type of life a student lives at the point in their life that they are at makes for a very powerful combination for effective teaching. Your passion also drives you to constantly to rise on the learning curve when it comes to how you communicate and what new innovations exist that might strengthen your teaching skills.
A teacher who has a passion for what they teach and knows his or her students convey their passion in such a way that their students see that passion and it becomes contagious for them. They recognize that their teacher cares about what he or she teaches and it motivates them to become engaged. It is important for the teacher to be fully cognizant of the life environment that the student is living in regards to his or her pressures.
Having stated the above, sometimes teachers have a specific dilemma forced upon them by the ruling powers. I will phrase it with a question: "Does it profit students educationally to force a teacher to teach a subject which they have no passion for , no educational background in and most likely flounder in? The passion a teacher has for what they teach is personal and it is something that they have developed through professional development and academic preparation.
One of the edicts of the industrial model of education is: a teacher is a teacher and should be able to teach any subject irregardless of desire or passion. This edict still exists in the minds of ministry of education decision makers.
For the online teacher who has a passion for what they teach, the virtual education resources of the world are at their fingertips and teaching to inspire their students to love learning and to learn how to think effectively starts by tearing down their insecurities and by challenging them to aspire to a greater purpose than themselves.

Now, on to the exploring human biology in a virtual education environment.....

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