WTF – Educator Edition

I went to a super-awesome conference in Dallas a few weeks ago. There, I met with many teachers, both of high school and at the college level. In fact, for a portion of each day I was cordoned off in a room with many of them.

To be clear, I’m not a teacher. I work with them, but I am totally not one. I’m actually a student (still… FOREVER!!) and my thoughts about how teachers conduct themselves often come from that angle.

Incredibly long story short – I suggested that in a class like math, it’s useful to not only have the “rules” (eg: triangle = 180*), which the instructor I was chatting with advocated, but also some tie to the real world (eg: where triangles exists, why knowing angles matters, etc…), aka practical application.

That kind of thing helps me remember stuff. I’m not alone in that, either.

So the guy scoffed at me because “now we are talking about wasting time on abstractions.”

Um, what?

This is what is infinitely frustrating about working with “experts” (I’ll not confine it to school people, I’ve worked in other jobs where this exists). At some point, they get so deep into their own area of specialty that their version of reality becomes warped.

In this guy’s case, it was so badly warped that classroom theory is concrete and real life application is abstract.

The rest of the conference was better. I just couldn’t get over that exchange. It is literally haunting me. How do you DEAL with that?

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3 thoughts on “WTF – Educator Edition”

  1. Ach. Call it patheticism. It’s like athleticism, only for pathetics. Why no teacher should have tenure. Tenure attracts lazy and weird like crap attracts flies. Let them get tenure at a municipal sewer plant or something, not at a place where they are allowed to teach other human beings.

  2. I worked in a district where math classes were only taught in word problem form. “Real world” only. To be honest, I just like doing math problems for the hell of it and don’t care about its applications at most evels beyond basic elementary skills. But I think there should be a district standard and leave the teacher prefrence on such things at the door.
    I have a friend who can make most math rules into a fun and exciting story the student will identify with and see the application in the real world…no matter how far fetched. and then they do math problems the old school way.

  3. I’d like to say that such teachers, and other similar professionals, will be more inefficient than their more intelligent and practical peers over the long run and would either have to improve or be phased out, but that’s definitely not the case in academia thanks to things like tenure and solely assessment based systems of class evaluation.

    Therefore my advice is a cricket bat.

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