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Why I Teach

December 2, 2008

Hi. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I feel rested and ready to take on the rest of the quarter.

Okay, so while I don’t have any great technology sites to share today. I thought I would just continue on the optimism theme and explain why I teach. Now the obvious answer is I teach because it is part of my job description and I have to. Well, yes, but that doesn’t really answer why I teach. I teach information literacy to freshmen which can sometimes be trying at best and life-draining at worst.

Today reaffirmed for me why I teach. I just had my focus group for my class. I am trying to figure out ways to improve the class and how the students see the class. The data is completely worthless for extrapolation, but still interesting. My best students came–thus I cannot extrapolate out even to the rest of my class. But they did reaffirm why I teach. I teach to try to reach the students, help them, inform them, give them the ability to have power over the flow of information in their lives, but really, I teach because of my engaged top-tier students. I teach for the students that take what they’ve learned to the next level, who take pride in their work, who truly learn to learn and really want more.

These students want more knowledge, they want more power and they want more out of life. These are the students that give me the energy to slog through the papers that are turned in late, that are turned in by students who obviously ignored the directions and who could care less about the class and who have a glazed over look no matter what we do in class.

I try to lift up all my students. I teach so that they can improve and learn and grow. I pull them kicking and screaming into active learning, into collaboration with others in the class, and into participating online. But that can be draining. My students that actually see that one can have fun and learn from anything are the ones who I teach for.

My students today ended with the suggestion that we have another library class. They actually wanted another class in their college career–later when they were in upper division classes in their disciplines. Really! They thought the class was helpful. They loved the YouTube videos, they liked the quotes used in class, they enjoyed helping others with their new knowledge and even saw the use of learning citations! How can one not feel blessed to have students like this in class? And I have more than one!

This, friends, is why I teach. Because these are the students that are going to change the world, one little step at a time. These are the students that make the time, the energy, the blood and the tears worth it. They are why I teach.

Tangentially, can I just say I am super-proud of my students? I am. Check out their online presentations here Library 1210 Presentations. These are presentations of the most interesting parts of their research projects. My students have made me proud.

Like the bumper sticker I picked up in Monterey says: “Those who can, do. Those who can do more, teach.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy Boutet permalink
    December 6, 2008 5:56 pm

    You have the best job ever and I hope your students some day realize how lucky they were to have had you as a teacher. You are like Rex!!!

  2. dwakimoto permalink*
    December 8, 2008 8:57 am

    Thanks, Nancy! You always know how to cheer a person up and I really do love my job. 🙂

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