Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There IS a Difference

Sometimes you just have to wonder why you were shown something. Was it God’s divine intervention, chance, or of your own doing?

I do not talk about my work in this Blog. This is done purposely so as to avoid upsetting those that are in control of my livelihood. Plus, it is a little bit unfair to criticize, even if one is right, without the ability for a rebuttal, which the entity I work for would be unable to do.

So let me talk in very general terms and lead with: I have a philosophical difference of opinion with the new guy they have put in charge, which we discussed yesterday. So we will leave it at that. Plus that is not the point of this blog today, it is about the first sentence, which needed explanation by way of this little blurb to allow it to make sense.

I do not watch TV on a regular basis. Most of the time it is with the wife as a form of “quality time” since that is something she likes to do. But last night, while eating a late dinner I turned the TV on and surfed till I came upon “King of the Hill” (it is strange that my favorite TV shows are mostly animated ones). Now remember the philosophical difference of opinion I spoke about? Ok, let me also add that I am an instructor and this should make sense.

Peggy Hill is substitute teaching and is standing at the chalkboard with a math book going over their homework. She copies the problem from the book to the board – a circle with “D=3” inside and a square with “3” inside – and asks the class “which is bigger?” Silence. She then opens the math book to the answer page and says, “the answer is D” at which time there is a pause, and then one of the kids asks “why?” Poor Peggy has no idea and embarrassingly solders on to the next question as the students lose respect for her as she loses credibility.

Anybody can be a substitute teacher but not everyone can teach. Any instructor, educator, or teacher worth his or her salt knows that you will never completely master your subject. There will always be something you understood incorrectly, something new you have not heard about, some little esoteric bit of trivia that escaped your hearing. Still you face the audience with the knowledge that you do understand your topic and, when you are at the top of your game, can put the information in context and answer or lead a discussion as to the question of “why?

There is a difference between a cook and a chef, between an artist and person who can paint, between a musician and person who can play a musical instrument. There is a difference between a person standing up in front of a class following an instructor guide and an instructor who knows the topic and can help students understand the “why.”

And that is all I have to say about this.

Thank you Peggy and Mike Judge, I needed to see that last night.

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