Thursday, 6 December 2012

The real joy of teaching

I have taught for many years and in those years I have learned many things such as.
  1. My teaching style is different
  2. Most people don't want to do something new and exciting
  3. Most people don't want to do anything if it isn't for credit
Since I started teaching at a younger age and without getting a masters in education, I found these points a little hard to take in. Before I quit teaching in the classroom I tried very hard to get people to do amazing things that only a percentage of the population can do. A lot of times it isn't that hard as it sounds. 

But as usual, it fell on def ears and only a few people kind of produced something. Today I try and get people who have never coded or designed anything to go and do something amazing. The only barrier I have is people's own mental blocks. Most people think they can't do anything and therefore they won't.

It's kinda like Bilbo Baggins in the hobbit. Basically somebody forces him to do something few hobbits have ever done. And what happens at the end? Well Bilbo has this wonderful adventure few hobbits will ever have.

You should really do something that scares you. Eventually you will find yourself in a better place.

But back to the joy of teaching. Last year I made this course on how to make HTML 5 games. The best part of this course is that I show everybody everything. The goal of this was to get people who always liked games but didn't know how to make them actually make a game. Well somebody actually did. They put it up on the chrome store. You can see the link here.


This is the best part of my day when I actually get somebody to do something amazing!

One of the biggest problems I had as a teacher is trying to convince people to do stuff like this. I would say:

"Hey, you're pretty awesome how about you try and release ____. You can totally do it and it looks great on your resume."

The answer I usually got was (especially from parents):

"[Id rather have my kid get 95% in math]"

Of course Im paraphrasing it. But essentially convincing people was the hardest part. The best part about Udemy is that the convincing doesn't happen people who love online education go there and they know what they are going to get. Im sure people see Udemy and say: 

"[No credit? No thank you]"

The best part is that I don't have that conversation, I don't waste my time on that conversation and I can just go back to working on something new. 

The funny thing is that the "Udemy" way of education is slowly getting more and more traction and it's about time. From a teaching point of view this is the best way to give your lectures. From the students point of view, it is the best way to learn something as fast as possible.

Really isn't that was teaching and education is about? You know, results. When did teaching become this war of attrition for marks and credit? This brings me to my final point. As a person who loves learning marks were never a priority. Activities and learning were always paramount. Maybe we can call it academic hedonism. But the real shock is that mostly everybody is not like this. Most people would rather get an 'A' and do nothing than get a 'C' and learn something. 

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