Teacher Performance

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PREVENT MEDIOCRITY: SIT IN A WINDOW SEAT

(Photo: 2composers)
You can know a lot about a person by the type of plane seat they pick.

The people that deliberately pick a window seat are different from people that pick an aisle seat. An aisle seat is about comfort, ease, and familiarity. A window seat is about discovery and adventure. And just like every adventure, there is a price, a “cost of admission” to the views. If you are in a window seat and you have to use the restroom or get something out of the overhead compartment, you have to inconvenience everyone in your row to get out. In a window seat, you are also sandwiched between the immobile wall and another person and so your legs do not have as much freedom as they do in an aisle seat. Worst of all, if you are in a hurry, a window seat is problematic because it takes you a little longer to get out of the plane. You never know how many time-pressured people are going to rush in front of you before you can even get into the aisle and remove your bags. Read more »

DON’T LET SCHOOL GET IN THE WAY OF EDUCATION

At the start of every semester in college, I trudged to the bookstore to purchase all of my books for the semester. This was in an era when most students didn’t buy books online, and bookstores had a virtual monopoly on how much they could charge for a book because they were the only store within a 200 mile radius that sold “Pearson’s Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry, 112th edition.” Sure, you might be able to find the 111th edition from someone who lived down the hall, but you weren’t allowed to have that in class.

So every year, I spent hundreds of dollars on books that I didn’t even want. This frustrated me, so I made a new policy: each semester, I was going to buy at least one book that I wanted to buy. My first book I bought was “Until we have faces” by C.S. Lewis, and it was by far the best book I read for the entire semester. This continued to be true for every semester: the little book that I wanted to purchase was always more informative and had a greater educational impact than every other “mandatory” book that I bought. I find it ironic that I would spend hundreds of dollars each semester on books for school, and yet the little $10-15 book was always more influential in the long run than the other books that I purchased. But the separation between what I did in school versus what actually proved useful did not stop with just the books that I bought. This separation showed up everywhere. Read more »

TEACHING ≠ LEARNING

I have had the privilege of observing many teachers in my time in education. This was borne out of necessity because of the fact that I wanted to improve as a teacher but I had no idea what to do! So, I would just go around and observe any and all teachers. Sometimes I would ask permission and sit in on their class during my prep, and other times I would stalk outside their classroom and listen to what was happening and occasionally sneak a peak through the door or window. After conducting so many planned (and unplanned) observations, I have discovered that the ONLY variable that matters when evaluating the efficacy of a teacher is... Read more »

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