Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Dangers of Teaching

I have just finished teaching a module on the D.I.T.'s MSc in Applied eLearning, which I really enjoyed doing. I always approach the idea of teaching other teachers or lecturers with a bit of trepidation since I never know what sort of interaction I’m going to get. It is one of the problems of being a lecturer or teacher that in your job you become used of coming into a room and everyone becoming silent and taking notes on everything you say. This can sometimes lead teachers to conclude that even in non-work situations they always have something significant or important to say. Round Table journal comparing Eamon de Valera to a teacher said ”He can lecture but cannot negotiate, and his enthusiasm for abstract propositions prevents him from facing realities”. I definitely feel there are times when this sort of characterization applies to all of us, so it’s always a bit of a worry teaching teachers, will they ruin the flow of the lecture by always trying to score points or will they be open to the process.

I think one of the few things keeping teachers from going totally over-the-top is the students, invariably there will be students who keep you modest either from their knowledge of the subject, or their genuine curiosity, or their remarkable humanity. This brings me back to what I started this posting about, which was teaching the D.I.T. lecturers, I was blessed with a group of colleagues who came to learn and share, there was no one-upmanship or showing off, so to them and to all students who are willing to participate in the process I offer you my sincerest thanks, in the words of Albert Schweitzer;

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.”

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