Sunday, March 10, 2013

Go Home! - How to Be a Better Teacher

When I told my students how much I missed being in a place with snow ever since I moved to teach in Saipan, they were instantly interested, and not just because I mentioned the mystical thing known as snow - I was talking about something that I was passionate about.

I quickly realized we needed some visual guides and pulled up some Google images as I talked about snowshoeing, ice fishing, snow mobiles, snowmen, snow ball fights, snow forts, and sledding. When I told them that I spent a night in an snow fort I made for a Polar Bear challenge with my dad when I was a kid they begged to hear more. I described how we made the fort so that we slept raised up on a platform (to let cold air sink below us) and then how we stayed warm (without melting the fort) using candles and the heat from our breath in a hardened-snow fort and why this was better than a solid ice fort.

This discussion had me thinking about a short interview I watched the other day of Gary Stager at a Maker Faire, which is "a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement." Stager made a few statements that help describe this spontaneous teaching moment I had about snow forts from my childhood and the most important is that "Knowledge is a consequence of experience." We need to show students that we are interesting people who lead a well-balanced life and don't simple live, eat, sleep, and breath our classrooms.

Stager goes on to discuss that the most influential teachers of our schooling are often the ones who share their "knowledge and their passion for acquiring more knowledge and it becomes infectious and transparent to their students." A great example of this is when I sat and ate lunch with a student one day and we talked about I really liked to read about Julius Caesar and his exploits, the very next day the student came in bursting with stories about Caesar being captured by pirates when he was a young man - another student successfully addicted to learning! :-)


 The idea here is simple - live a life full of experiences worth talking about, share them with your students, and in the process become a better teacher.

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Go Home! - How to Be a Better Teacher by Anthony Pascoe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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