Monday, April 18, 2011

I’m not a teacher

But maybe my blog is, on occasion.

My occupation has never been listed on any form or resume as teacher but I have taught. You probably have too. All of you parents out there are teachers. Also, the aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters can be teachers too. Much of the teaching is done informally but if the student learns, what’s the difference?

You could start teaching to strangers at the bus stop. I doubt it would go over well but you might get on the local news (which if you do please mention my blog as your inspiration).

I actually did teach in a formal setting once. A summer class on programming at a community college. It was interesting, alright, I got paid, but it left me feeling frustrated too. In the end I wanted to throw a few of the students out.

So to the teachers out there who list teaching as their occupation and guide those monsters wonderful children - my hat goes off to you and all the best because it’s an important job. At this point, I want to remind you (one of you might remember) that I have daughters who teach and of course they are the best in the world (IMHO).

My most common teaching experience has been informal on-the-job type teaching. From this I learned the absolute best way to learn something thoroughly is to explain or teach it to another person. At one point in my career, I was involved in customer training/teaching. The most interesting part of that assignment was having an audience of English as a second language customers. No problemo (which really should be “no hay problema”) as long as they are educated and I have a translator along.

A post or two ago (do you count in posts?) was about I-imagination. The idea was the idea. Well using I-imagination, I wondered what it would have been like to have been taught by the renowned teacher Socrates. Of course, I’ll assume I could understand and speak ancient Greek and I didn’t mind wearing a toga.

“I know that I know nothing,” Socrates apparently said once but I’m guessing it was not during a job interview because it does convey much confidence.

The above picture is a painting of the school of Athens. It doesn’t look like any classroom I’ve been in. The guy sprawled across the steps looks like trouble to me. I don’t think they taught in classrooms and maybe typical age of the students were older.

One common aspect of the painting and my informal teaching experience is the teacher-student ratio. It’s either one-on-one or very close. Today that is mostly found in tutoring arrangements. Good attitude and confidence are key factors in successful learning and tutoring can provide those.

I recently learned of company called StudyPoint that is expanding their tutoring services. Tutoring offered by StudyPoint is all done one-on-one but I am sure if they have Socrates types they don’t wear their togas. That would be distracting.

Another Greek, Mentor, was the tutor of Telemachus. He must have been a great tutor since his name has become synonymous with it. I wonder if in the far distant future Lisleman will become a word meaning great blogging or lighten up already.


Kristina P. said...

It's true about teaching others makes you learn better.

secret agent woman said...

Ah, I got an email from them as well.

All my teaching has been at the college level, from my days as a grad student TA to teaching classes in Child Development and Psychology at colleges here. I've enjoyed it.

Kristin_The_Goat said...

We are all teachers in one way or another. But yes, I have also been taught by some great ones. Lisleman is indeed one of those great blogging teachers. But just like the great men of yore, I can't quite put my finger on what nugget of information Lisleman gave me that influenced my blogging LOL

Dwmatty said...

You're so right. No matter who you are, your position at work or in life, you are a teacher. Each one of us brings something different to the table of life that we can pass on to others.

My oldest daughter, although now a SAHM, has an education degree and taught elementary school for 5 years.

Bearmancartoons said...

You can't kick kids out of community college class?

Alpenwasser said...

Yeah, I'd keep my eye on the kid sprawled across the steps, too.
But, what do I know? It's all Greek to me.

Pat Fortunato said...

A single teacher changed my life. Actually, I think she was single - she wasn't must older than I was, in my Junior year in high school. She showed me some test scores (could have gotten fired for that) and asked why the hell I wasn't going to college. So I went to college, first in my family, and have had some great opportunities as a result. I was able to do something similar when I was a teacher myself (briefly), which I wrote about at

debbie_suburbsanity said...

As a substitute teacher, I struggle with feeling inferior since I'm not a real teacher. But you are so right, we are all teachers.

Blunt Delivery said...

dude, that guy DOES look like he's up to no good.

Mrs4444 said...


Mrs4444 said...

You are so creative; I love the way you think.

Can you imagine being around during Jesus's time? "Dude--My teacher is crazy!! You should hear what he claims is going to happen this spring!"

TechnoBabe . said...

We are all teachers and we are always students. Of life.
And then there is teaching by example.
Very nice post, lisleman.

Emily said...

Interesting and funny post!

I am chronically ill and I feel my calling, besides to support others like me, is to teach well people who we chronically ill people are. To break down the barriers between us and to shatter the myths about us chronics. And call me crazy, but I will talk to whoever is willing to listen to me when I am out and about. Through my writing and just by talking to one person at a time I am trying to make a difference.

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