Teaching ability: Natural or Acquired?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Bored of Ed, May 31, 2007.

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  1. asiltropwen

    asiltropwen Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2007

    a little of both

    I think teaching is a profession that is taught, but can't be followed to the letter of the text because, as we know, situations in classroom are often unpredictable. It is also a natural given ability that is tweaked as you go. A good teacher has the natural ability to roll with the punches and adjust in different situations. It gets easier each year as you become more confident that you know what you are doing ..the kids sense it and follow suite.
     
  2. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    This was an enlightening post. I never thought myself as in an introvert person... I thought I used to be an extrovert kid who had grown up to be a little shy person. Now I'm not so sure...mmm....
     
  3. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Same here, exactly. But until I read 25 years In's post, I never connected it with the reason that while I love teaching, I always feel so drained when I come home. I turn off all the phones most days as soon as I walk into the house. And sometimes I don't call people back for weeks. When I'm at social gatherings you would never guess, I'm listening to this person's stories, joking with that one, laughing and being sociable with everyone. But unless we're helping with the cleaning up we leave after a few hours and I can't wait to just be quiet. I tell the girls they're invited to my room for a "read-a-thon" and we all get on my bed and read our books. I've been thinking about this lately because I've noticed that talking this way on a forum doesn't take much out of me when if it were phone conversations, I would not be able to do it. It's the opposite, really stimulating to exchange ideas with each other.
     
  4. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    I feel exactly the same way. When I get home, after a school day, I long for peace and silence...reading a book is the way to get my mind off school things. Three years ago I had a "tough" 7 grade class, and by the middle of the school hear I was getting burned out...I forced myself to develop an hobby (getting better at playing guitar) so I would find some peace of mind.
     
  5. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Carmen, I know. We're so quiet and peaceful in our house. Thank God, because one thing about working with kids is it's like a soap opera drama almost every day. :)
     
  6. Carmen13

    Carmen13 Groupie

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    Indeed!;)
     
  7. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I don't consider myself an introvert or an extrovert- sort of both. Is that possible?
     
  8. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    OK, I wrote my whole story in the hopes of getting some advice, but besides for that what I really want to know is this:Can teaching be taught?
    a) Did you always feel a natural inclination or "calling" to teach?

    Yes, most definately did it feel natural.
    b) Did your skills of working with students (not specific strategies, but just knowing how to deal with them -- socially, emotionally) come naturally or did you have to work to develop them? How to deal with the situations comes naturally for me, but... I think experience plays a big part of that. Four years ago I might have handled a situation alot different then I would right now.
     
  9. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Apparently. :)
     
  10. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Is teaching taught? You are darn right it is! Even the "natural" teachers have things to learn.
    I always thought I was a "natural" teacher, well in 33 years I have found I never will "know it all" even tho I try to be one.:D

    Well after 33 years as a teacher (I am retired on Paper) I can't remember when I decided to become a teacher. Maybe jr hi when I got a 96% in math for for my grade on the report card (this was a merit grade if you averaged over 95% you got a number instead of "A" "B" "C" etc.) I wanted to be a math teacher then in High school I fell in love with Electronics, an Electronics teacher, then in College I found woodworking was a joy so a Wood shop teacher I became. I doubled up on math in case shop was done away with well next year I will be the Honors Algebra teacher

    but I do think I need to fully retire Maybe I have run the race.

     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Yes, indeed: an extroverted introvert can be the one who sparkles publicly but NEEDS the down time. I suppose there's also such a thing as an introverted extrovert, too.
     
  12. 25YearsIn

    25YearsIn Rookie

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    Think of the two poles--extroversion and introversion--as the alpha and omega of the traits those words represent. We all have the capability for both, and where we fall on the line between the poles has much to do with preference in the sense that right or left handedness has to do with preference, hard-wired though it is. You do have another hand, yes? You could use it for writing if you had to do so, with effort and practice, yes? But most of us would much rather stay in our comfort zones as a rule. Many persons are close to the mid-point but lean toward one or the other end. Image up a bell curve, if that helps. I'd guess in a general population it'd hold true. And if you're sufficiently interested to find out just where you do fall on that continuum, theres a trait sorter in Please Understand Me that's really fun. I found that I'm extreme in three of the four pairs of traits that system identifies, and I only had a few points toward center in the last (J/P). I had absolutely no points toward the middle in introversion. This helped me come to grips with why nineteen years' teaching eighth grade language arts left me feeling as if I'd been on a treadmill marathon for longer than I could remember. Even though I loved the work and found it rewarding, I had to face the fact that it really drained my batteries. And it also helps me understand why the last seven years of writing for a living and doing (intentionally limited) public speaking better suits my needs. BTW--no set of preferences is considered better than any other. But if you understand your own hard-wired preferences, it's a whole lot easier to 1) understand that your needs are real--even if your needs seem quite out of step with those around you, 2) think about how well your outer life meets those needs, and 3) think about what has to be changed to better meet those needs. How to do it is another puzzle, LOL.
     
  13. 25YearsIn

    25YearsIn Rookie

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    LOL, Mrs S, teaching was the one thing I thought I'd never do. I have memories of puzzling as a child over how mean the kids were to teachers. I might be a bit different from others in the profession. Many people come into teaching because of a love of their subject matter and a desire to share that love, ignite others with a similar passion for it or for learning in general. I'd call that a calling because one most likely has to teach to pursue it.

    My passion is humanity. I came to teaching through a blend of economics (Must Support Self) and the desire to work for peace, to leave things just a little better than I found them. How better to do that than to nurture the generations that followed me? I found a fit with those aspirations in the language arts classroom, where literary discussions leave a great deal of scope for teaching children how to see the forest for the trees, how to cut through fog, how to understand what is real about a situation and not be thrown off by what someone else says should be real and therefore is real despite the contrary evidence of their senses. Personally, I require challenging work, and adolescents are endlessly that. All in all, I found them a good reason to get up in the morning, the only one that held up for me over time. But there are many other avenues to meet my aspirations for peaceful change, one person at a time. The good folks who put in countless hours supporting others on this forum know something about that, hmmmm?

    B) As a young teacher I failed to understand that to be an effective teacher I would first have to communicate one thing to each individual I faced each day: "I care about you." The students who heard this, who really got it, learned far more effectively. But I wasn't very good at communicating that this was why I chose to teach, and that they, individually and collectively, were the point of it all. How to communicate that message in the face of the very high level of product I asked of them became the work of some many years. But once I learned to get that message across, I saw a very different level of achievement because my students knew that even though my class wasn't going to be a cake walk--as if learning to analyze literature and write coherently ever could be--I would be there with them, and if they could come along for that trek, we'd get somewhere that would make the effort worthwhile. We in education constantly ask our students to come around blind corners, to work for skills whose value is frequently only visible in retrospect. To get them to do that requires that they understand that we're really on their team, looking out for their best interests.

    It took me the first five years of my career to settle classroom management and curricular challenges. Then I spent the rest of my classroom time working on the above. And it was work, no question. Love usually does require all we can muster.
     
  14. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    25 Years In, you sound so cool. Your insights have enlightened many of us. Thank you.
     
  15. 25YearsIn

    25YearsIn Rookie

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    blushing Gee, thanks.
     
  16. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    Ohmigosh, you and Teacher Groupie are going to love each other! That sounds so much like something she would say! :)
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 7, 2007

  18. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I'll check it. :)
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Keep reading till it goes off topic; that's where it started getting fun, though I still feel just a little guilty about poor mimers.
     
  20. eduk8r

    eduk8r Enthusiast

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    I see you've already made each other's acquaintance! :) You seem like kindred spirits. And both full of wisdom.

    I laughed so hard when I saw the last comment by 25 Years In:

    Que magnifico! (you'll get that one I know, TG) So just how long has this grammar fight been going on?

    Now if 25 Years In would only visit this other thread that started off so incredibly but is now limping along.......that would be interesting. :)

    We're going for a walk right now, be back around 5:30 or so.
     
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