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Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Sunday Musings 5/27/12: The Student -> Teacher Arc

Sunday musings…

1) Squirrels. Apparently a deadly scourge that needs daily policing. At least according to Lil’bingo’s dog.

2) Memory. Mine? Seems shot. When did that happen? If it’s not written down on something somewhere it seems never to have come up.

3) “Murph.” The WOD that keeps on giving. Stairs this AM? No, thank you. Squat down to put away dishes? No way. My upper body just checked in to bingo HQ: unavailable today. Please check back tomorrow. Thankfully 2 days of recovery before my day job kicks back in.

Just a heads up for all of you doing “Murph” today and tomorrow

4) Armageddon. I was thinking about an Arthur C. Clarke short story ( I think it was Clarke) about the end of the universe. Silly thoughts really, something about medicines and how could they possibly manufacture all of the medicines that a space Ark’s denizens would need. Pharmaceutical factories are HUGE ya know.

It was the writing I was really thinking about, though. The story was about the impact of technology on religion and faith. A small group of monks had been counting the stars for hundreds of years, their belief being that when each star was counted the universe would cease to exist and everything would revert to Creation. A computer sped up the count by a factor of a billion or so.

The final lines were simply poetic: “Then, up in the sky, without any fanfare, the stars began to go out. One by one.”

Real writers do stuff like that, write sentences that are simply better than other sentences. They do it all the time, and they do it over and over again. It’s not just the authors of literature, either. Every paragraph that Tim Layden writes for SI contains a sentence that is better than 99.9% of the treacle emanating from my keyboard. Every single one.

4) Students. Life consists of a series of arcs, curves on a scale. The student -> teacher arc, how much we teach vs. how much we learn, has to be one of the more complex of these arcs. The progression from student to teacher, one who is a net gainer of knowledge vs. one who is a net provider, seems to be equally complex and varied. Each one of us should, and around here surely seems to strive to continue to be a learner, a student of things both new and familiar.

It’s the opportunity to teach and how we seize (or fail to seize) that opportunity that interests me today. Think back to your school years and the different types of students you encountered. The “can’t miss” kids who just seemed to get it, get it fast, and get it right time and time again. The “gonna get it” kids who didn’t know that they were actually “cant’ miss” but hadn’t figured it out yet. Almost any kind of teaching was going to work for these groups; the main goal for the teachers was not to screw them up.

It was the “not too sure about this one” types and the “uh,oh…this one might be trouble” kids where you really hoped that the teaching would be top notch. First rate. From the outside you peek in and silently hope that these are the kids who get assigned to the teachers who are to teaching what the Tim Laydens and Arthur C. Clarkes are to writing.

There are other types of teaching out there, though. Think of all the kids who discovered some activity into which they could pour themselves, molded by coaches or instructors who were committed and passionate about not only the activity but also those to whom they passed on the passion. It’s a big-time effort in small-time venues most of the time. Most of these coaches and instructors, at least the ones who make a lasting impact on the “I don’t know about this one” kids, do it out of love for the activity and love of the teaching. Think assistant coach on a Jr. High football team or High School band director rather than Urban Meyer or Jimmy Ivine. Think every CF Kids instructor. Think about where you might be on that student -> teacher arc and how you might become that one teacher who is the shepherd who leads that “I don’t know about this one” kid through all of the phases that lead to “can’t miss.”

Everyone can teach; one simply needs to recognize that they have moved to that part of the arc and seize the opportunity.

“The Heir” and Lil’bingo were talking about a new member starting 6/1. Now, in a young Affiliate every member is a big deal. They were really excited about this one because he’s just finishing his freshman year in High School. “We get him for three years, Dad. Can you imagine the difference we’ll be able to make?!”

You bet I can. That kid can’t miss.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at May 27, 2012 7:51 AM


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