I came across an inspiring post, from Terri Eichholz on her education blog, which has encouraged me to share my thoughts and first-hand student experience with you. Terri, a K-5 teacher with decades of experience, brings up a very important topic: challenging students to think. Terri believes that a requirement of being an effective teacher is connecting with your students, occasionally provoking them to think for themselves, and leaving a lasting impression with them after class time.
Speaking from my own personal experiences, all of the memorable teachers and professors I’ve had share this quality and ideology. They present debatable material that challenges my perception of the world, especially if it is current material. For example, ethical discussions, current news stories, or even personal opinions on a topic often provoke me to engage and participate. Surprisingly, this tends to work even in courses that don’t particularly interest me.
The Ultimate Goal
At the end of the day, what are teachers really trying to accomplish? Of course, they want their students to understand the material and succeed, but perhaps more importantly, they want students to GET EXCITED about the subject.
In my opinion, once a student becomes excited and self-motivated to learn a topic, the educator’s main objective has been achieved. Even if students are struggling with their current understanding and expertise of the topic, the “ground work,” so to speak, has been established.
I’ve been told and truly believe that to be successful and happy with your life, you have to honestly love what you do and get excited to go to “work” every day. It’s always remarkable watching self-motivated people who excel in their respected skill.