What does it mean to teach?

Mark Graham By Mark Graham, 27th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

This will be a column about the skill of teaching and being a teacher.

What does it mean to teach?

Being a teacher can be many things. We all think that teachers are those standing up in front of a blackboard, while nowadays a smart board teaching us, the students out letters and numbers then moving on to words and sentences and teaching us the correct way to behave in our communities. Teachers will explain to us the facts of what we need by giving us examples the subject at hand.

Teachers give us the necessary thoughts on various subjects from English and History to Science and Math. At times teachers will use literature to teach us what we need. There will also be times when at school we will learn to be creative beings that want to stay healthy and learn how to keep our bodies and minds healthy.

Teachers and teaching give meaning to our lives for through education we well learn what we are good at and want to progress our thinking to a higher level and that leads critical thinking skills in all of the various areas of study. Just think and all of this started by one teacher that taught us when we were young our letter and numbers for can become lawyers, doctors, engineers, counselors, business people, writers and yes even teachers.

This is what I believe that teaching and being a teacher is all about. Teaching is a helping profession that could also include other fields, for example the human services/social work as well as in the nursing fields.

In the human services/social work area teaching is mainly showing clients how to make improve decision-making skills, communication skills as well as social skills. Through working with others as an individual or in a group clients will learn these skills by an instructor who can guide them. In the nursing field teaching is all about how to insure that proper care can be given to the patient once the patient has been discharged and will be on their own or will have family care for them. They will be taught how to manage medications, dressing changes if necessary and how to adapt their homes for safety.

Teachers can be found in a lot of professions not only in the school or college classroom.


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Meet the author

author avatar Mark Graham
I am a graduate student of Children's Literature and have also studied Counseling at the graduate level as well as College teaching and Reading and Literacy. I will be writing on these and my ownideas

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author avatar Deepizzaguy
27th Aug 2015 (#)

I remember one comedian who played a teacher in a Spanish sitcom that played during the 1970s and mid 1980s saying the reason he had thick skin to be a teacher was because he had faith that the students he was teaching would make the world better when they became adults. The actors in the show called "The Kid From Number Eight" were about preteen ages even though the actors were adults. A teacher needs to have the patience of a saint.

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author avatar Retired
27th Aug 2015 (#)

I taught for a number of years in a variety of places and ages 10 to 21. In the course of teaching whatever subject I was hired to teach (Science, History, English, Health, or Reading depending on the year).

I also had to teach my students things like acceptable behavior (what society deems acceptable), tolerance (for a number of things including tolerance for people of other cultures or beliefs), nutrition, and more.

My job as a teacher was one supposedly to start at 8:05am and supposedly ended at 3:10pm and ran Mon. through Fri. but most days I was at school by 7am and wouldn't leave for home until usually 7pm and upon arriving I'd return any messages (parents had my home number) until 9pm. I'd also make any calls (I had "good calls" to compliment my students--2 for every "bad" call--calling to discuss something that needed changing in the student's behavior) and then work on grading papers, tests, etc.

On the weekend I sat down and worked on lesson plans for the coming week making sure I had several ways to teach each area as my classes held 36 to 40 (usually but one class had 50) of students who ranged in abilities from those at a kindergarten reading level to those that had already surpassed a 12th grade reading level--ALL IN THE SAME CLASS. I had students who had a number of "different-abilities" (what other people call disabilities) so I also had to figure these into the plans as well. I also had to teach my students how to take tests, how to take notes, how to read textx books (to get the most out of them(, what their "learning style" was and how to use it as well as how to learn from a tracher who taught in a different "learning style" so that they still could both do well and use the knowledge and ideas in the future to build on.

In order to do all of this I had to be prepared to learn myself. I had to study new techniques to "reach" the students as well as learn developing technology (this was during the early 90's when it became more common for gradebooks to be put on a computer instead of aphysical-paper-version and many new things were being developed to teach students via a computer instead of the lecture, read, workbook, test method many of us were brought up with.

"Breaks" or "vacations" were times to do more learning and MAYBE you'd have a little bit of free time to relax but more likely you were working a second job since (in my district) any materials required by a teacher that students couldn't afford or any materials over the $100 purchase order allowed teachers for new supplies had to be paid for by the teacher (my school also limited teachers to 1 ream of paper per quarter for any copies, only supplied you with 1 classroom set of books--35--with which you were expected to give homework every night to all of your 170 students and any copies past that ream of paper came out of your pocket as well).

On top of all of this I dealt with students who hadn't eaten before coming to school (parents couldn't afford the extra meal). I had many students whose parents couldn't afford clothes--even from a thrift store--for all of their children let alone presents at holidays and birthdays so I taught my students the meaning of compassion (helping fellow students without expecting stuff in return) and thrift (stretching what had been raised to help the most) and so on.

Don't get me wrong--I loved every minute of the struggle and wouldn't have changed it for the world. Later, after moving from the barrios of Tucson, AZ, to a middle class area on the coast of Virginia I had a chance to work with students who had different needs and abilities and whom taught ME new things.

Good teachers don't just teach but also use the time as a time for them to learn as well. Good teachers also don't just teach a subject but teach students how to be a better person and the teacher in turn also becomes (hopefully) a better person themself.

Through my life I've found some teachers do not teach at a formal school but we encounter them in our day-to-day lives and maybe we don't realize until much later.

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author avatar Mark Graham
28th Aug 2015 (#)

Was my piece good or bad. I seemed to have learned a lot from your comments. I am completing a doctoral degree in education so I hope when done with the degree work I will be standing in front of a college classroom hopefully teaching children's literature.

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