Friday, March 04, 2005

The virtues (and pitfalls) of sharing your Twinkies

I had Twinkies for breakfast the other day. Or more realistically, I had 1/4 of a Twinkie for breakfast the other day. I really wanted to just shove both of them in my mouth at the same time and revel in the utter chemical sweetness of it all, but I felt guilty. So I shared them with my class to give everyone a taste of some classic American junk food. They fell in love! I am now on a mission to get a case of Twinkies for the kiddies.

More and more I'm finding it's not just my Twinkies I'm sharing. It's my life. Every aspect, every angle, every minute is an open book to my students. They have my phone number, my chat, my blog address - everything. My goal right now is to convince the reluctant ones that I really do have an open door policy - they can call me any time day or night for any reason. Those that I had last semester know this already, and have used it when necessary, but have never abused the access. Mostly it has just kept an open line of communication, and has built a level of mutual respect and trust. At least I think it has. It truly saddens me to hear stories of professors whose goal seems to be keeping students in their "place". Forgive me for being the idealistic one here, but aren't your teachers supposed to help you find the way to success? Aren't we supposed to be guiding these young people to their talents and finding the areas in which they excel, not trying to prove that they're failures or that they've still got a lot to learn? Someone actually said that to me, "I just want to show them that they don't know everything." EVERYone still has a lot to learn, and 99% of the population is well aware of that. You don't have to prove it to them. For all the faults in the system, these students still manage to get an education, more on their own perseverance than on the effectiveness of teaching practices. It's a world reluctant to try new things - things have been the same for so long, and trying to convince someone there's a better way is challenging, to say the least. I won't change the world while I'm here, but I hope that maybe, just maybe, I can change one or two people's minds about educators and education.

Ok, it's way too early in the morning to be waxing philosophical on the merits of education. I'll leave you all now to have your coffee, and I'll go have mine. Toodles.

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