Friday, March 18, 2005

Have Vocation, Will Travel 

Note: this post will stay atop the blog for a while: I got a family to support, and I ain't too proud to beg. If you work at or send your kids to a private or progressive public school in the New England area, please consider donating five minutes of your time to check your local job board for me. Thanks!

Look, I'm a great teacher.

I like integrated 9th grade Humanities, working closely with Seniors on college essays, and long walks in the woods.

Beloved by teaching peers and students alike, my biggest influences as an educator include Dewey, Socrates, Papert, Montessori, and the Hearkness method. I have a Masters of Arts in Teaching, and vast experience in almost every teaching subject.

A professional Renaissance Man and culture vulture, my primary goal in the classroom is always to help students take ownership of their own place in the world of communication and culture. I teach to the students, not the material, but I'm always looking for that perfect combination of traditional and modern resources for the perfect class.

I can do it all. Better than most. And I love doing it.

Hire me.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:58 PM |

You don't teach "to" students. Or "at" them. You (hopefully) TEACH STUDENTS.

Misuse of language makes all the difference in job applications. I sincerely wish you all the best in your job search. But please: good grammar!
Minty Fresh has her heart in the right place. But her linguistics leave something to be desired.

Misuse of language is one thing, and I am happy to be corrected when incorrect.

But in this case, I do not believe I am incorrect at all. The two phrases "teach students" and "teach to the students" have different meanings -- one of which I wanted, and one which a) I did not mean to say, and b) is ultimately a pretty darn useless thing to bother saying -- and as such, your helpful suggestion of language misuse is misapplied.

The term "teaching students," while common, is not only the wrong one in this case, but that it is semantically empty. "Teaching students" is internally redundant; by definition, those taught are students. I would ONLY bother writing that I "teach students" if I were trying to clarify that we were not talking aboput teaching teachers, which is certainly a primary aspect of my jobset these days. Otherwise, I'd avoid the phrase like the plague, and write "redundant" alongside it if, say, I found it on a student paper.

"Teaching TO", though, especially in the context presented (teach to the students, not to the material), is a clear and present phrase found all over education. It is most commonly found in the phrase "teach to the test" -- where it is a statement of how curriculum and pedagogy are driven. To speak to HOW, not WHO or WHAT, is my intention here, so the language use is perfectly appropriate.

Teaching TO THE students, then, refers to a focus on the needs of the students in front of you, as opposed to driving one's curriculum and pedagogy to maximize fact and knowledge-based learning outcomes within the discipline. It doesn't speak to WHO you teach, but HOW. That's why the phrase is useful, and that's why it does NOT say "teach students."

In other words, teaching to students means treating the daily and ongoing needs of each student as the teachable moment. It refers to a classroom strategy in which students learn to learn by knowing their own brains and making connections between the known and the new.

And, thus, the difference between the two terms is as that of apples and fruit.
Isn't this the second time you've posted this post thingee in da blog?

While yer at it, hire me too
No, Shaw -- I haven't sent it twice, I just changed the date so it would stay on top for a while.

They say networking accounts for 80% of jobs -- applying for posted jobs only accounts for the other 20%. So I figure the blogworld might actually help, you know?
Well, being part of the "blogworld", I already did my part (if you check out my blog you'll see).

Also, feel free to boogie on the subterrianian disco I installed there!
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