Adventures in Teaching — What teaching can teach us.

I have been teaching, tutoring, and mentoring since I was in grade school. I would tutor my fellow classmates that had struggled to learn certain concepts for the test. Then, as I got older, I would mentor my friends and family on ways to solve problems. Finally, when I was at the uni, I started teaching. I taught all manner of classes to both adults and children. I had fun doing it, too. I discovered over time that when you teach or tutor you also learn. You try different things with different students, you learn what works, what doesn’t. You also learn from them about the world.

For example, while teaching a classmate about how the Oracle at Delphi got high off ethylene, and then the geology, ethylene fumes, and culture along with it, I learnt about the social impact of mentally handicapped people then and now. He contrasted what standing the Oracle had in society with those that have similar disorders have in the modern world. I learnt how his brother, a child born with Downs would have been seen as potentially useful in those societies, but in our modern one that his brother had a stigma placed on him that made him a nuisance in today’s world. We talked about the wider role of religion and ignorance in these times and how it benefited those with less mental fortunes.

Teaching is an adventure in its own regard. Even when there is a lesson plan in place, solid goals to obtain, and students filtering into your class, there is still the challenge of getting them to actively listen, participate, formulate ideas, and pass the standardise tests. On the other hand, there is unschooling which seeks to have a haphazard flow to their system, and what comes up, comes up. I have had the pleasure of participating in all forms of education from the strict boarding school to the relaxed, unplanned unschool. I can tell you, nothing is what it seems. They all have their ups and downs, little adventures, and challenges that go hand in hand with ever little excitement.

Part of the joy of this cycle is the perpetuation of knowledge, philosophy, skills, and ideas. I would like to share those things with you. I would like to share the thoughts of my students, the lessons I’ve learnt, the tools we’ve tried and more. You might find some things thought-provoking, others overly simplistic. You might find some of the tools useful — and some may flop entirely for you or your students.

Either way, every so often I’ll put up a post dedicated to teaching adventures and philosophies. I’ll share with you as much as I can while retaining the privacy of my clients. I hope you can use the knowledge I’m sharing with you.