What Is Life?

When asked to reflect your opinion on which path you will choose as a mentor, one cannot make this kind of synthesis without referring to personal life experiences, especially those from school. One cannot help but feel nostalgic with a pressure in the chest; a pressure as the hearing of the Big Ben, thunderously ticking each minute as time moves. Over ten years have passed since I graduated from high school. Not every memory is filled with joy, but I must certainly say, full of memoirs of embarrassment or happiness. I look back to those days, and I feel happy to share the road with lots of good people. Without the experience with each friend, teacher, or classmate I would not be the person I am today. Such a bold comment from a girl who graduated from high school with one handful of friends — barely enough to fill one hand —, but I learned the value of a single individual and, up to which point it can affect you.

I am the kind of person who likes to receive the bad news first, thus making it an obvious my decision to talk about my negative experiences with a particular teacher. Luckily, there were not many, to tell the truth, but indeed I had one of the most mediocre teachers a student can have. He was a music teacher; knowledgeable as he was on his subject, talented and good looking, but he was by far the worst teacher in my High School years. His job was to teach music, a hard class to excel I must say because you cannot achieve the goal without practice. Nonetheless, he would not make the class enjoyable; he didn’t talk to us and spent the whole time seated watching his pentagrams, making arrangements at his personal compositions. He wrote songs on the board pentagram and then expected us just to play it right away on a grand piano. To reach the top as the worse teacher in my life, I had to call “teacher” to someone that did not teach. He was the toughest grader I have ever meet. It was an awful pedagogical experience for all his students.

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Most of the times are easy to label a teacher, whose teaching is deplorable. I can say with certainty that a good one is not a piece of cake, for there is always a reason a teen should hate a teacher or any figure of authority. It was easy for me to find the perfect example of a great teacher, and with confidence in my decision, I will list him here. He started teaching in my school when I was in 8th grade. A lovely Math teacher committed to teaching some science that is not an easy subject. I have to say that he actually deserved some recognition. The most patient, knowledgeable and easygoing human being but at the same time respectable teacher, I have ever met. What a guy he was! He made Math looks simple, and he dedicated his lunch breaks to help us out if we were feeling behind. Which teacher in this planet sacrifices his lunch hour for a student? Well, this guy did, and I bet he still does the same.

Because of him, Math just flew naturally. This professor was so nice and smart with us that everyone has him today on Facebook, posting him friendly comments from people from past generations, as well current students. He posts funny math jokes on his wall. I have to say, WOW! That is the kind of memory I want to leave in my students’ memory. I want them to remember me with warmth and think: “I learned something valuable from that teacher” either being a personal life experience or a pedagogical knowledge lesson. I want to leave a positive mark on each student that crosses my path. That is the reason why my life choice is a daily effort to maintain a balance between letting the students learn to guide them positively, not to impose what must be done — which reflects Progressivism, — but rather let them explore to be active learners. The lecture time must be limited to give instructions and seed the question within each student so they can wonder beyond their curriculum.

I cannot say that I totally disagree with behaviorism, but I find it useful to be implemented in certain situations, not just base an entire school year curriculum in just drilling every lesson. I feel that a teacher must have a bit of understanding of each philosophy and make one great achievement out of them. The teacher must reflect the values of his personality (Perennialism) into the class, as to implement knowledge without being too conservative (Essentialism). A good teacher can use some behavioral techniques to deal with “that problem child”, act as a light to teach, not to impose (Progressivism), and more important, make the student remember that we are part of a democracy, and we have the right to free will (Existentialism) but again applying our Perennialism.

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My life choice is a daily effort to maintain a balance between letting the students learn to guide them positively, but rather let them explore to be active learners.

 

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