Amy Peach

Director of Instructional Technology, Fontbonne University, St Louis, MO USA


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What will it take for everyone to become a teacher?

Traditionally only trained educators or college faculty with advanced degrees in a content area have been considered teachers. Do you consider yourself a teacher? What do you teach? If someone offered you a small stipend to become a secondary instructor for a class to share your expertise, what assistance or training do you think you would need to be comfortable in saying yes?

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    Feb 28 2014: I think anyone can consider himself a teacher if we count explanations or demonstrations as "teaching." Teaching is in that sense a universal human activity and also a universal activity probably among animals.

    Large numbers of people are happy to share their expertise without stipend as guest teachers in the classroom. I think the only training necessary for that limited role is communicating what the students are like so that instruction is appropriately pitched. I think it makes sense for the classroom teacher to take care of classroom management so that the speaker doesn't need to worry about those skills while in the classroom.
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      Mar 1 2014: Couldn't agree more, Fritzie. I've found most people are happy to be guest speakers without a stipend, but they show the same traits that most volunteers do. Great sources of information and inspiration, but unreliable when and if you really need their expertise at a specific time and with a specific level of involvement.
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        Mar 2 2014: Amy
        I suggest opening your heart and mind beyond the label "unreliable" when speaking about people coming into the classroom to help teach. When/if you and the speaker are clear about what the "level of involvement" might be at any given time, there might be no expectation regarding 'reliable" or "unreliable":>)
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        Mar 7 2014: Good point AMY. There has been I line that I have crossed in becoming a mentor. I am ok with having expectation on my contributions. Just like anything else, those expectation need to be defined somewhat in advance.
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        Mar 8 2014: Whenever some personality teaches into the class then its not important how many are listening but the important is how many are enjoying and every teacher have something to teach and if you don't like one teacher then it may happen i liked him/her so much.
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      Mar 2 2014: Fritzie and Amy,
      I agree that an ability to communicate a message is important for anyone teaching in a classroom. I learned that years ago, when invited to "guest lecture" at the university by a sociology professor. For months, I said'm not a teacher....can't do that. Finally, I decided to give it a try.

      I reasoned with myself, and part of that "reasoning", was the fact that I had been a professional actor, so I had the ability to deliver a story to an audience. The challenge for me, was that the story I would be delivering in a classroom, was my own story in a course called "Violence and Abuse in Relationships".

      I had never spoken in public about it, nor had I even shared the experience with very many people individually, so telling my story to a class of 175 students was a little daunting. One of the first things I told the students, is that if they had any questions or comments, I would welcome them at any time. Opening it up to discussion seemed preferable to me than standing up there talking for 2-3 hours!

      After a couple times, I got very comfortable with the role of teacher, and the professor broke the large classes up into discussion groups after the "lecture". Two other professors in the sociology dept. invited me to speak in their classes, so I continued with that, and I facilitated discussion groups regularly for years.
      The feedback from the students and professors about the whole process was very good, and seemed to be successful. It was important for everyone to be on the same page as my role and the experience evolved.
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        Mar 3 2014: I think there's a key word in your remarks, Colleen. Guest speaking requires just one skill beyond your own expertise in an area: storytelling. I'm asking all this because I'm trying to see if I can work out a new program that doesn't encourage faculty to get guest requires it. While primary instructors need teaching skills, secondary instructors can be in-field experts who need little teaching experience. I wonder if, in preparing those instructors, a simple workshop on the art of storytelling might be helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your story. That is my concern, really...that we have these amazing experts our students could really learn from but they're too concerned about their lack of experience as a teacher to give it a shot.
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          Mar 3 2014: I agree that storytelling is a good skill Amy, and I also suggest getting the kids involved in discussion whenever possible, depending on the subject matter of course.

          Part of my reason for opening to discussion whenever possible, was to engage the students in considering possible solutions to the issue of violence and abuse in relationships. When they can discuss a topic, consider different sides of the issue, there is generally more interest, and often a chance for resolution. With the topic of violence and abuse for example, we talk about it forever. We need to apply the information.

          With ANY topic, application usually is an important element, so if we can get kids more engaged, any subject is usually more interesting.

          A workshop on the art of storytelling might be fun and educational for everyone! Another thing I believe is important is to go into a teaching/learning activity with the idea that I have something to learn from the students. I am not there simply to tell them what I think I know about a certain topic.....I am also there to learn. Being open to learning, is also a way to bridge a possible lack of confidence in the instructor, and puts them on a level more in tune with the student.....everybody is both the teacher and student:>)
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          Mar 7 2014: Storytelling is so important. I was attempting to explain to robotics students why electric motors all rotated at slightly different speeds. I focused on one small aspect of a motor.

          My story focused on the fact that motors were wound with wire. That wire was manufactured with tolerances (plus or minus .005 for example). Since the size of the wire could vary, so would the speed of the motor.

          I would wait for the question "Why don't they use wire that is all the same size?". The answer to that, I say is cost. To manufacture wire that is exactly the same size, it would cost much more.

          That approach would spawn many discussions.
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      Mar 8 2014: That's very important point you make: " I think it makes sense for the classroom teacher to take care of classroom management so that the speaker doesn't need to worry about those skills while in the classroom."

      Other points are good as well.
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    Mar 2 2014: Learning. Conversely, the best way to learn is to teach.
    I am a learner so I am a teacher as well. I teach the audacity to hope, wisdom to question and will to introspect.
    I believe modern schools should introduce philosophy, morality and reason as full subjects from junior school or else it will be like gifting cars without the skill to choose the road.
    The best teacher is one who inspires.
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      Mar 2 2014: Well said Pabitra!
      The best teacher is one who inspires, and inspiration is often passed on with encouragement, questioning and introspection. In my perception, teaching and learning are ongoing processes, so a good teacher might encourage and support individuals in their personal exploration of the life adventure:>)
    • Mar 6 2014: Amy / Pabrita
      Seems you both have touched on a key element here. "The best way to learn is to teach." Perhaps then, its the students who should each be given lessons they must teach to the class. With this practice in our schools, everyone learns to teach. They also stay to see their friends teach and repect the effort involved in teaching.
  • Mar 1 2014: I think we are all already teachers, especially those with children and young adults in their lives. We just don't all acknowledge and/or accept the responsibility that comes with that role. Its no secret that young people soak up and internalize the behavior of the adults in their lives. It seems sometimes that our society puts too much of the burden on school teachers, when parents, relatives, neighbors, etc should be doing the bulk of the work. School can be a fine place to learn the basics, like math and grammar, but these subjects are far from all of what young people need to know to become productive and responsible members of society.
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      Mar 2 2014: Hello Jacob,

      Excellent points! A major aspect of good parenting is good teaching and mentoring - and being a good role model too. To prepare young people on the challenges and complexity of raising a family is to educate them early about family and community life.


      Below is a poem by Michelle R. Kidwell:

      They say
      It takes a village
      To raise a child

      But I say
      It takes a caring hand
      And lots of love
      And even one person
      Can make a difference.

      They say it takes a village
      To raise a child
      But I say it takes a lot of love
      And a caring heart.

      They say it takes a village
      I say more in the village better start stepping up
      Because the children hold our future in their hands.

      Copyright Michelle R Kidwell
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      Mar 3 2014: Nailed it, Jacob. It's not that I believe teachers can't handle the many responsibilities they have now (content, health, emotional well-being, physical safety), but there just aren't enough hours in the day. Even if there were, I learned years ago that my students simply didn't benefit from only listening to me all day. I would often trade classrooms with other social studies teachers whenever I approached a content area I wasn't particularly passionate about. I can get them worked up about the New Deal, but ask me to spark interest in WWII weaponry? Not likely. My co-teacher in the department who was a Marine? He did a much better job :)
      • Mar 3 2014: Also, without the proper "priming", nothing a teacher says or does will stick anyways. It seems like there has to be a foundation laid prior to school for you educators to build upon. Sorry for all the constructuon metaphors, ha ha.
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        Mar 3 2014: Another good point! We are better teachers with subjects we are confident, comfortable, enthusiastic about, and truly engaged in:>)
  • Mar 11 2014: i thought i was a teacher, then i started actually teaching and realised that i'd made a ton of assumptions that just weren't what reality was actually like. now i've been doing it for a little over 10 years and i'm getting to be a good teacher.

    the big one that many non-teachers also assume is that teaching is about conveying information. it's not. another is that if you teach a man to fish, he'll become dependent on your instruction.
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      Mar 13 2014: I agree, as I like to put it; teachers should teach How to think and not What to think.

      I would love to see university degrees in thinking! With classes like divergent-thinking, convergent-thinking, holistic-thinking, group think leadership, Cognitive Styles Analysis, learning styles, etc.

      With all facts being at everyone’s finger tips via internet, being able to know how to use them is more meaningful then just knowing them.
      • Mar 14 2014: yep, though they need teachers to choose what to think about. carefully selecting problems for kids to think about is what teaches them to think, and they do also need to be given the background knowledge to help them arrive at applicable answers and conclusions. the facts are available on the internet, but there is often too much information or not enough of it. how do you select appropriate material when you are only just now learning the subject and have no idea or experience in the area at all? another important part of being a teacher is doing all that work that would take students weeks to do for themselves - here's a useful fact sheet that is at your level and contains enough information in language you can understand without getting bogged down in too much detail that's too difficult for you at this stage.

        i'm glad you brought up the point about learning group dynamics too. i've read on the internet plenty of times about how people blame the teacher for their low mark, because they were put in a pair or group with others who didn't do their part properly. those kinds of exercises are designed to give kids experience with dealing with that sort of person, because in real life they won't always end up in teams of their choosing and only comprising great workers.
  • Mar 5 2014: I think one of the key required abilities for a successful teachers is the ability to ask questions, not the sort of questions to put in an exam, but the sort of questions that drives thinking and attention.

    Thinking and attention correspond to 2 properties of knowledge that are required for its understanding and communication through teaching. Thinking corresponds to the meaningfulness of the knowledge which usually appears in the form of metaphors/analogies. Metaphors are not just helpful to make unfamiliar concepts relatable, but also provide fresh and inspiring perspectives. Metaphors can be in the form of stories, practical examples, diagrams, pictures, comparisons to similar concepts...etc. In other words, metaphors are necessary for transforming plain information into material of thought. The deeper a metaphor captures a hidden pattern or structure, the more it in inspiring and helpful.
    The other property that corresponds to attention is preciseness. Preciseness is the ability to identify and recognize structure and order in knowledge and shed light on the subtle details for example putting things in their right positions as in knowing the conceptual category of each term and hence avoiding category mistakes. Preciseness also involves the ability to recognize the implicit and subconscious ideas and know hows through reflection on one's own thoughts and actions.

    Additionally, a teacher should not only be able to teach but also needs the necessary social skills for speech and interaction with students.
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      Mar 6 2014: Looking over this and many other comments about what we expect from our teachers, I am just reminded what amazing people most teachers are. Few if anyone could live up to all these expectations but they are wonderful expectations... for all of us to have of ourselves.
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      Mar 6 2014: Amir, the ability to ask good questions is going to be what separates future teachers from most of the teachers we know today. I'm glad you bring this up. Most teachers can ask some basic content questions, but do they have the skills to work as Sugata Mitra's "teachers" do in the Granny Cloud? If you haven't seen that talk, you would likely enjoy it.

      This skill might be hard to cultivate in teacher prep programs. Not only do they have to master the art of listening (which they're not really currently trained to do...they're trained to direct), but they also have to learn how to let the ego take a backseat. Again, not something always inherent in teaching :)
  • Feb 28 2014: Everyone to some degree is a "teacher", this refers to teaching in its older meaning whereby education is taking place. This has more to do with the transference of meaning and the character education of others such as is done by parents or mentors of all kinds.
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      Mar 1 2014: Yes, Frank, we all are. So how can I get you guys to share your expertise with my students in a consistent manner?
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    Mar 3 2014: Every person is a teacher, Not to say we are all good at it. All can show someone something ,good,bad,ugly.
  • Mar 1 2014: Patience and Creativity are the two qualities which are necessary for a teacher other than technical qualities of the subject.And if the teacher has studied psychology then its bonus.

    I will be back with a story on how the quality of Patience and Creativity of a teacher can make even the mischievous students to learn,
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    Gord G

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    Mar 12 2014: We must all become students.

    [and yes I was made such an offer and it was enriching]
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    Mar 4 2014: Teaching is identified with performing a role. It's not just a role played but a relationship that needs to be nurtured and maintained. When viewed as a Role, anyone can be a teacher, but as a relationship it needs to go far beyond. A relationship maintained with the taught. To perform the role, one only needs subject matter, but as a relationship it goes beyond and involves the student to think beyond the known horizons. It needs to get into the world of the student or get the student into the teachers world.

    Here storytelling becomes important as it stimulates other senses on a deeper level by creating an experience that stimulates the other senses, as the student imagines the story as it unfolds. This requires a skill and a passion. It requires an involvement beyond the obvious and hence few are successful as teachers.

    Teaching requires an intense desire to make a difference to others and get them to think beyond the known and explore new thoughts. It needs creativity and dedication. It requires you to be a child and have the child like fantasy to create the experience for others. Teaching needs us to be look at the world around us and come to terms with what we face. It requires us to share our experiences and be bold and truthful to create the sense of conviction. It requires us to face ourselves and put it out there for the student to see and learn from it. It requires us to share and and be selfless. It requires us to be humble and be ready to learn from even the taught. It requires us to accept our limitations while encouraging others to go beyond theirs. In the end it requires you to love your students/taught for without this the relationship does not exist.
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    Mar 2 2014: well I was a very good math student, Amy. For example, I got a 780 (out of 800) on the math section of the SAT. But I recall once trying to help my sister with math (she wasn't as good), and I couldn't seem to help her. So I wonder, what is the difference between being able to do something, and being able to teach it?
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      Mar 3 2014: That's happened to me too, Greg. I didn't have much trouble understanding economics, but the first time I had to teach it I really struggled. Eventually I spoke with enough veteran economics teachers to understand what I needed to do, but it took quite a while. The only way I did was to really put myself in the situation of the students. All of the examples I used were things they could relate to. Math is very tricky because there are so many different ways to approach a problem. My daughter struggled with subtraction, so I showed her some Khan videos. After struggling for weeks, she watched it and simply responded "Oh, THAT's how you do it? Sheesh, why didn't they just say so?" It's not that her teacher wasn't good, but Avery needed to see it done differently.
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        Mar 7 2014: that's good to know. I also think one might have to be patient to be a teacher. In the example with my sister, I only tried once to help her, and I wasn't very helpful. But if I had tried multiple times, who knows?
  • Mar 2 2014: i think it would take strict discipline and diligence. every teacher has to have their own method.
    as long as they're effective. They should be teaching about a subject that is near to their heart.
    And they should apply themselves. If they are patient them they would be better off.
  • Mar 2 2014: Experience and if the people paid to teach had experience it would be a much better world. You cannot teach what you do not know. As Einstein said "Information is not Knowledge" and when he said "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school" he was not joking. It is a pity but it is the disastrous truth. America thinks we can build education like we build cars on assembly lines. I learned more sitting my the side of a river for a day than I learned in twelve years of public schooling. Mark Twain is well respected in American history and he said "Don't let schooling interfere with your education". Why would such a bright fellow say such a thing? Even today Elon Musk is no doubt one of the smartest men on the planet, at 8 years old he read the entire encyclopedia Britannica and remembered all of it, he has a photographic memory. Today he runs SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity with plans of being on Mars in ten years. So what does he think of our education system? “Conventional education should be massively overhauled”- Elon Musk
    Steve Jobs had this to say “At the top end, our public schools are producing fewer and fewer graduates who have the skills necessary for the world's best jobs. At the bottom, each year more than a million Americans—that's 7,000 every school day—are dropping out of high school. In the middle, too many American children float from grade to grade in schools that never challenge them to reach their full potential.
    This is unjust, unsustainable and un-American. And it is especially galling because we have the technology to change it.”
    I love educators, they are trying hard but they do not have the experience, tools, freedom or the financing to do the job right. For typically the same reasons I love postal workers but mail is delivered electronically and packages are delivered much better with UPS and FEDEX so what are the 574,000 people doing?? 95% of what they do deliver goes right into a huge trash barrels??
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      Mar 3 2014: The vast majority of teachers I know would consider it a dream come true to provide education rather than schooling. What's been interesting is if I give them a wide open opportunity to teach any way they want, they really don't need tools or financing beyond what they currently have to do it. I would say even most of them have the experience they need (although I think this could be improved greatly as well). What they do lack in your list is freedom. The list of standards continue to follow the line of thinking we used when initially creating public schools (which we know were designed to support our industrial system). Since this is no longer in place, I think you'd agree that it's time for a new way of thinking. Problem is, you go to school boards or community members and tell them their students aren't going to memorize the 50 state capitals anymore and you run into a major problem. While most adults would agree that this is useless knowledge, it's the way THEY did it. It's hard to imagine a school experience for our kids that is so completely different from what we had.

      SO...this is the plan, Keith. There are two key constituencies we need to convince. I'll work on the teachers. I'll give them a graduate experience that is so disaggregated, experience-based, and personalized that they inevitably start thinking "why can't I do that with my own students". You work on the government. Get them to start thinking differently about education so that when they're in committees drawing up yet another set of standards and testing, they at least start asking themselves WHY they're doing it. I think between these two efforts we might see something meaningful :)
      • Mar 3 2014: "You work on the government"- Amy Peach
        “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”- Socrates
        Amy it is true today as much as it was in Socrates time, we need to massively overhauled the system as Musk put it. To me that means building another system that works from the ground up as an example for others to follow. Quit propping up and trying to fix the old system, just let it die a natural death and meanwhile focus your energy on a new better system.
        Khan Academy and Charter schools are two examples of systems built from scratch and both were scoffed at in the beginning. I am not saying either is ideal, I leave that to you and the good folks in education that want something better. Maybe you can be inspired by Michelangelo's approach: See the "new" education system as "David in the stone" and then simple remove everything that is not "David". Maybe the next system could exist with the trees instead of replacing them with more cement?
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          Mar 3 2014: I wholeheartedly agree with that quote Keith...."the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new".

          What we focus on expands. If we spend a lot of energy fighting against something, it brings energy and focus to something that we prefer NOT to have.

          Focusing on, and building something new and different, brings energy to the new paradigm, and the old unwanted practices and behaviors fall away because there is no more need for them to exist:>)
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      Mar 3 2014: Keith,
      There is no reply option for your comment.....
      "I totally agree with your assessment of Colleen and I would consider her very professional in many areas."

      Thank you my friend for your kind words:>)
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    Mar 1 2014: Hello Amy,

    Your question, it seems to me, is leading to something. My contribution may be off-tangent but I hope it will add more spice in the conversation.

    Imagine an alternative school and the main mission is to provide a more effective and efficient way of educating young people. The school I have in mind is a K-12 cooperative school, organized and operated by experienced educators and entrepreneurs and the objectives of the school are:

    1) To provide STEM courses designed to address the needs of the 21st Century.
    2) To provide low-cost but high quality education, partially funded by public funds and the rest through donations and parent contributions.
    3) Members of the cooperative - with appropriate knowledge, experience, and education - manage and teach. The others members contribute their skills in other areas of school operation such as public relations, clerical, repairs and maintenance, and security. This sharing of time and expertise is one good way to keep the operating costs low.
    4) To seek and train future educators, curriculum designers, and educational administrators through internship programs offered to high school and college students.

    This concept of cooperative school is one good way to broaden the participation of concerned members of every community. It is one effective way to encourage people with skills and experience to become teachers or mentors.
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      Mar 3 2014: You're right. My posts are ALWAYS leading to something, Rodrigo :) I think there's an important key word in your outline: cooperative. I learned long ago that I couldn't teach alone. Finding others who could fill gaps in my own knowledge or who had more passion about a topic was the only way I could give my students the best experience. Part of what I'm trying to do is get these groups together. What I've found, though, is that getting expertise into that classroom from people who don't consider themselves "teachers" is a bit tougher than I anticipated. I had an amazing guest speaker contribute to a class discussion, but he was anxious about his "teaching" skill. I told him he just needed to tell a good story about what he had experienced. After that, he did much better. I would love to see entrepreneurs take a more substantial role in our education system. What I have to figure out is how to get them to contribute in a way that is beneficial to the students, but isn't much of an imposition to their own schedule.

      I love your idea of members of the cooperative contributing to the school. Frankly, I would love to see our students take over this responsibility. What better way to learn communication than by creating a community newsletter or a local broadcast? Couldn't they learn as much (if not more) about plant science from creating a community garden in a park haunted by blight?
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        Mar 3 2014: Great ideas Amy!
        In my perception and experience, people learn much better with participation and actual hands on opportunities! I totally agree.....what better way to learn communication skills than by practicing on a real project? What better way to learn about plant science than growing plants? Perfect!!!
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        Mar 3 2014: Education as both art and science is the consensus among experienced educators. While painters, sculptors, architects, composers, writers, and poets have almost complete control of their materials; paint, marble, wood, clay, steel, notes, and words; educators have the most malleable but the most difficult material to work with - the brain and the heart of the student. While artists can choose to work in solitude to complete their work, educators have to work in public and collaborate with parents, fellow educators, and leaders and members of the community. While artists can proclaim when their work is done, educators cannot in the sense that education and learning never end until the end of life.
  • Mar 1 2014: If you know more than the other person and can share that knowledge, you can be a teacher.

    Prior to recent history, the best educators were craftsmen and skilled workers and master craftsmen. They led apprenticeship programs and taught their skills to others. They didn't have fancy degrees or titles, but they were definitely teachers.

    Older folks who share wisdom with younger generations are teachers.

    Getting paid to teach is nice. But most people balk at it if you ask them to teach. Teaching a classroom is far different than just simple teaching. Teaching others doesn't require a degree, title, or long flowery resume. It requires a passion to share what you know with others. If you are lucky, you might get paid to do it.
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      Mar 3 2014: Important distinction, Everett. Classroom teaching is a completely different skill set from teaching in general.
      • Mar 3 2014: Yes, yes it is. As I have been teaching for over 15 years, I am well aware of the distinction and differences.

        If you want an answer to the question "what will it take for everyone to be a classroom teacher?", the answer to that question is simple. It will never happen. The question led me to teaching in general not classroom teaching which is a far different animal.

        The skill set for classroom teaching is such that most people don't want to do it or won't or even can't do it. Even those who tell me how easy it is for teachers, refuse to even consider teaching in the classroom when I suggest it. Not because of the content knowledge, but because of the classroom management skills, pedagogical knowledge, unit planning, and other assorted skill sets that are required which have nothing to do with knowing the subject matter and everything to do with knowing how to get the best out of people.

        Everyone can teach. As long as they know something that another person does not know, they can share that knowledge. But truly, not everyone can teach in a formal classroom setting.
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    Mar 1 2014: To become a teacher requires certain level of education, knowledge, and expertise - depending on what one teaches. To become a good teacher requires more: Excellent communication skills, commitment, passion, patience, and dedication. Being likeable is a plus and if one doesn't mind living paycheck to paycheck is even more plus.
  • Mar 1 2014: I share what I know with others that wish to know what I know, but I am not paid for it. So, am I a teacher, mentor or parent?

    Saying 'yes' to being paid to teach would be easy. However, I think we need to parse something out here. I feel that my time, travel, and materials have value, and if someone, or a group wants me to share these things I feel I have a right to ask for compensation.

    Now, lets talk about the value of my time versus the value of the knowledge I might share. If what I know is some secret only a few know, then maybe I can argue that my time and this knowledge is worth a high price. I think the people that sell themselves as real estate moguls or wall street tycoons count on this to justify the cost of their courses.

    If the knowledge is nothing I produced, but something I studied and now in-turn I will share with other people, than it is less about my knowledge and more about my ability to teach others how to learn the material for themselves. I imagine this service is fairly regulated by the supply/demand curves for various subjects, levels of training and expertise.
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      Mar 3 2014: Great insight, Robert. Thanks. In my field it's not hard to get guest speakers to share for little compensation, but I would think in other areas (finance, law, etc.) it might be harder.
  • Mar 14 2014: As everyone is constantly learning in life -or should be- I consider everyone to be a teacher. Right now, I attempt to teach my girlfriend how to be more socially healthy so that she feels less isolated, in exchange, I'm learning about the patience and vocabulary needed to work with someone with pretty bad depression.

    I also, on the occasion, write in a blog about how people can and do change the world around them- and I've been watching TED talks and sharing how they make me think and teach me about the world or even myself.

    So, I may have a small audience, but I definitely already consider myself a teacher.

    And for the rest of the question- the only thing people need to do is to realize that they are, in fact, teaching others and being teachers.
  • Mar 14 2014: Being a teacher is a very big responsibility. Teachers need to be patient, kind, willing to teach, and also a little strict.
    Im glad that my teachers are perfect. They are always willing to teach, help and are patient when if i dont understant something, especially my math teacher, who is very patient and never yells at me if i dont understand but trys to help me understand and gives visual illustrations to help me understand.
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    Mar 13 2014: Some say teaching is not just a profession or career, it a CALLING. Any veteran teacher will tell you that teaching is not merely a job, it's a lifestyle choice.

    "Consider the daunting responsibility. You are partly accountable for the development of a room full of young people. And teaching isn't just about spreading academic knowledge, as teachers must also engross themselves in the daily lives of their students, something many struggle to do.

    Unless you have an open mind, a good sense of humor, patience and excellent people skills, teaching may not be your calling. Perks like job security, geographical mobility and lengthy holidays often act as powerful incentives before prospective teachers realize the demands of the profession." 5 Traits of Effective Teachers, Chicago Tribune.,0,4183936.story
  • Mar 12 2014: a teacher should have all the possible qualities.. beside beibg full of knowledge.. familiar with practical application of the topic .. heshe should teach in away so that the audience develop interest in that thing.. thats a real techer.. shoul innovate in its ideas.. of teaching (Y)
  • Mar 11 2014: hi
    my name is mauricio I'm from venezuela but I live i spain and 43 year old, I'm engineer
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    Mar 10 2014: I'm really talking about just general teaching. Classroom teaching definitely is a skill set, but sharing information and being invested in that person's learning doesn't necessarily require those skills.
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      Mar 11 2014: I see, well in that case:

      I personally have mentored many co-workers; I had a great mentor at my first job and I learned a good work ethic and have paying that skill forward ever since, along with skills of my trade that I have picked-up over the years.

      At work and in the real world, I find leading be example to be more effective the giving advice/teaching.
      So I mainly use (practice what you preach) to inspire others.

      For years I tried to mentor and inspire my fellow MSers, but it is so frustrating and depressing that they were spiritually and emotionally stuck in the “why me!” phase, I had to step-away for my own mental health.

      I do still give advice to those I care about or are seeking advice but I have learn to give it and let it go, for I can’t control their actions.
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    Mar 10 2014: As a recovering victim of public education, I have known teachers that should have not been teachers. And as a Autodidactic I also realize the US education system needs to change because too many students can’t learn properly from the current one-size fixes all current system.

    To be a good teacher it takes empathy and observation skills that training simple can’t give you.
    I have mentor/one-on-one many times, but I know teaching/one-on-many is not a skill that I have and can’t learn.

    To me the answer to the growing teacher shortage is not getting more teachers, but instead expanding ways of teaching. Mentoring for students that learn best one-on-one, apprenticeships for those who learn best by doing, and MOOCs.

    There are a lot of teachers retiring, and I’m thinking many would love to become MOOC or mentor educators, as well as others who don’t have the time, skills, or health to become a classroom teacher.
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    Mar 10 2014: So great to meet you, Tim! And it looks like we're neighbors! I'm at Fontbonne in Clayton. Will definitely hold onto your information. I think new models of education could use guys like you :)
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    Mar 8 2014: Hello Amy
    Are you talking about teacher in school or just general teaching?
    If you are talking about teaching in school then everyone can't do that because that needs a training qualification and much more.
    But if you are talking about general teaching then yes everyone is a teacher.
    Everyone have something to teach as we all are different. For me my parents are teachers and for them their elders and we are also teachers for our parents in some cases. So its just an obvious to become teacher. But teaching for stipend is a profession.
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    Mar 7 2014: My College education includes Electrical Engineering and Artificial Intelligence.
    Some of my experience includes:
    - Navy Nuclear Power Training
    - Being an Electrician
    - Building and flying my own hang gliders and ultra lights
    - Building robots and robotic components

    I have so much to offer to students and veterans. Applied sciences, critical thinking, solving real problems are some of the areas I feel I can add real value.
    I mentor now in FIRST Robotics but I want to branch out more.
  • Mar 6 2014: Since I am doing it for free now, I have lectured in math and computer science. I like to point out the history and what we think as new was thought of years before. I also tutor students and parents.

    The problem is too many forget to listen. I have seen it even with teachers. They seem to think they know it all and have heard it all before and ignore what the students and parents say.
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    Mar 6 2014: So true, Gary :) They're wonderful qualities, but it's a long list.
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    Mar 6 2014: being patient and to observe what the students will need for attention , may be the first thing to be trained to be a instructor.
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    Mar 4 2014: Some of the threads in this forum spotlight the "limitations" of teachers or challenges of classroom teaching:

    "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." Tao Saying


    Most of the problems or limitations attributed to teachers are symptoms of a bigger problem: students not ready or motivated to learn or students without the pre-requisite skills to learn a subject or topic, i.e. learning algebra without mastering the important concepts in pre-algebra or students reading at 6th Grade level dissecting Shakespeare works in AP Literature.

    It's so convenient to "blame" teachers. The challenge is for us to give the recognition, support, and compensation teachers deserve.
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    Mar 4 2014: Motivation makes all things possible Amy but different things motivate different people. How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? 1? Even a 100 will not succeed unless the light bulb really wants to change. I suggest you read the #1 best seller by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi "Tottochan". It is a wonderful true story and includes episodes of practical teaching by non teachers.
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    Mar 4 2014: I have been trained as a teacher and a counselor and worked in the field for many years. I got one of my diplomas in a work study program in the Netherlands to teach English as a second language to 12>17 year old students It was not a very good program nor very successful. In one sense everyone is a teacher in that we instruct by example good or bad. Still how many teachers does it take to change a light bulb? Actually experience has taught us that numbers are irrelevant since even 100 will not succeed unless the light bulb really wants to change. So If I take your ? literally the answer is a high level of motivation can make a useful teacher but only if their motivation also gives them patience, perception and compassion.
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    Mar 3 2014: YES! I loved this one. Haven't seen it in a while, though. Now might be a good time for a refresher.
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      Mar 3 2014: Amy, I think this was a reply about Stephen Ritz's energetic talk, but it will be clearer to which previous post you refer if you remember to use that little red "reply" button on it.
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    Mar 3 2014: Thanks for passing this along, Gary. I'll be sure to check that out.
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    Mar 3 2014: John wrote "Every person is a teacher, Not to say we are all good at it. All can show someone something, good, bad, ugly." If we figure out how to spread the sensibilities of being a teacher and some of the best practices, then broaden the notion of classroom as I think John suggests, teaching and learning can occur all the time and everywhere.

    That would be the best way to take advantage of what Amy pointed out early in this conversation: "we have these amazing experts our students could really learn from but they're too concerned about their lack of experience as a teacher to give it a shot."

    In the 4th Century, Augustine of Hippo wrote to his son Adeodatus in De Magistro (the Teacher) about the two fundamental requirements of a teacher: love your subject matter, and love your students.

    I believe communities that self organize around online games may be natural classrooms for ad hoc teaching and learning. See the TED Conversation at the link below to understand why we see this connection, and please join us in the conversation:
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    Mar 3 2014: It breaks my heart, really, Colleen. I had student teachers in some of the toughest communities in St. Louis. When I would observe them, I'd watch them doing worksheets about plants and after stepping outside, you'd see wide open spaces with chain link fence and broken concrete. Why couldn't they grow the plants they were learning about there? If the school would just get together with the community and figure out how to align the curriculum, it would be beneficial for both the students and the neighborhood.
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      Mar 3 2014: I agree Amy....with cooperation, those kinds of things could happen! Connecting with garden clubs in the area could be a resource in the situation you mention above.

      There was a young guy who was working toward getting his Eagle Scout badge (boy scouts) a few years ago. His plan was to design and create some flower gardens on the school property, and he asked me if I would donate plants, which I was delighted to do. He helped dig the plants from my home gardens, and while we were working on that part of the project, he was asking to do this or it turned into an educational opportunity and we had fun with the process. I helped him design the gardens on paper, labeled the plants, and he did the rest. Those gardens are still lovely and flourishing.....I LOVE it!
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    Mar 3 2014: I think the skill of story-telling will be the mostly required.
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    Mar 2 2014: i am new her
    hi....i like this conversation amy
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    Mar 2 2014: Hi Amy,
    I believe we are all teachers and students in the life experience. That being said, yes, I consider myself a teacher, and also a student. The role I experience can be either as the teacher, student, or both at the same time, which seems more common for me:>)

    Regarding my "expertise".....I do not consider myself an "expert" in anything. I am simply another human, willing to share thoughts, feelings, perceptions, perspectives, ideas, beliefs, experiences and lessons I have learned from others and from the life adventure:>)
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      Mar 2 2014: While you may not consider yourself an expert, many might say you have more knowledge of the best strategies for various sorts of planting in your part of Vermont than just about anyone, I would guess.

      I know you have been a volunteer at many things. Around here there are master gardener programs in which people like you advise people who are facing challenges in their own local gardens. It is a formal volunteer program.

      Here, I think, you would be considered a "master gardener."
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        Mar 2 2014: Well thanks Fritzie!

        We have master gardener programs here too, and while a lot of my friends have a degree, and are considered master gardeners, that's all I have is 60+ years in a garden....nothing official...LOL!

        When the gardens at my home were open to the public, I was often sharing what I have learned over the years, AND I strongly encourage people to EXPLORE on their own, because not all gardens are the same, and not all gardeners are the same, so results may often be different. That is something the books often leave out of the "education".

        Anyway, I usually perceive the exploration as much fun and opportunity to gain knowledge as the end result... in any life exploration:>)
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          Mar 2 2014: I understand. I posted only because some people think of expertise as having a degree or knowing *everything* in a field, but in something like gardening, experience planting a range of things in the same place for six decades sounds like expertise to me.
        • Mar 3 2014: I totally agree with your assessment of Colleen and I would consider her very professional in many areas. The world needs more non-professional professionals if you get the drift. Degrees now-a-days just means they know how to shuffle papers and words around. Experience is an asset of real value. Computers can shuffle papers and words around much faster and more accurate than any humans so why hire for that. Corporations simply will not and cannot afford to hire people with no value. People come with an enormous amount of baggage the moment they walk through the door so they better have some enormous talent to weight out all the negative liabilities they come with.
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          Mar 3 2014: Oh, don't get me started. I need to find a master gardener in my area. It's a skill I have NOT mastered. I'm excellent at eating jalapenos, but not great at growing them :)
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        Mar 3 2014: That's a pretty common human challenge Amy......good at eating, and not so good at growing food!
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    Mar 1 2014: Wow....disappear for a day or two to celebrate your birthday and the conversation goes on without you :)
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    Mar 1 2014: it's wonderful to think that everyone has something to impart, and most people do.

    however, teaching is not just passing on opinions and experience - it is about managing groups of 20-30 people. it's about time management. it's about communication skills.

    so, while it's great to have content knowledge or experiences that can be shared for the benefit of others, it is more important to know how to manage students.

    that comes only from experience in a classroom.

    of course, if you're talking about doing a "talk" or running one seminar, that's not teaching, it's only key-note speaking and that's edutainment at best
  • Mar 1 2014: Everyone is a teacher already. However, I no more expect to be paid for being a teacher than I expect to be paid for cooking meals at home.
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    Mar 1 2014: Some people don't have the personalty to teach or inspire. I know a PHD in biochemistry that is an adjunct professor to undergrads at a small college. The Prof complains about the students all the time, low pay etc... Feels the students are inferior instead of inspiring them to achieve all that they can be.... Does the job because the Prof needs the money not out of passion....

    I consider myself a teacher. I teach my children, community & co-workers.... I'm more comfortable providing guidance in other settings like scouting or TED/TEDx....
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    Mar 1 2014: Amy, Peter Piper wrote a book we used in the Instructional Design & Curriculum Development courses back in the 70's invented by Robert Meger, called Parents are Teacher Too. It emphasized that we are all instructors at some level. Some are excellent role models and some are otherwise.

    Some of the best at presenting the message reside in the academic, religious, military, police, etc ... these people are there because they want to be and are passionate about their professions. They care.

    We, all demonstrate pieces of our culture daily .... attitudes, customs, and beliefs.

    Based on what Fritzie said that this "job" would be more along the lines of "guest speaker" than that of "teacher" as a occupation, I would feel comfortable in any number of subjects.

    I have been somewhat successful and "give back" to the community in a number of ways. I coach, write a column for the local paper, do search and rescue, First Responder, CASA, Safe House, etc .....

    I even feel confident, if given the lesson plan, to sit in for a day as a teacher. I have many experiences from war to Sunday school. The question is what are we willing to share openly and would it be approperiate?

    The question of , what assistance or training do you think you would need to be comfortable in saying yes?, would depend greatly on what and where you are asking me to do.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Mar 3 2014: Thanks for the insight and the reference, Bob. Sounds like I really need to check out that book.
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        Mar 3 2014: Amy, If we look at the current direction and the goal that the Secretary of Education has set for education ... it is possible that "teachers" as we know them today may become facilitatiors. I see this at the k - 12 area and even at the Community college area. The textbook writers and the test developers are lock step and provide the exact plan for instruction that covers the areas necessary for success in the high stakes testing. By mandating STEM and the states accepting CORE the initial steps toward national standardization has taken root. The need for the advanced degrees you speak of will no longer be required at the K - 12 or JC institutions. These spots will be filled by Adjunct Professors at best with a BA or other graduate degrees.

        Bob and Ilene Mager live in Carefree, AZ now and and if you ever get a chance meet them. They are great people and giants in the Instructional and educational consulting field. Perhaps you could consider having them as guest speakers at your school.

        Back to the subject. These thoughts just crossed my mind and I wanted to share them with you.

        Thanks for the reply ... I wish you well. Bob.
  • Mar 1 2014: Hi Dear Amy,to some extent,I think everyone can be a teacher,at least I think everyone can be my teacher particulary
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    Mar 1 2014: simply won't happen.... if everyone became teachers we would have no students
    teachers= students
    where as if the equation was
    teacher+teacher+teacher+teacher= no students
    no students= no learning
    but if what your asking is how to create more teachers in the world
    then I guess i'd have to go with fritzie
    clear communicational skills and managing a classroom well....
    and to be interesting as well so that what you teach is embedded in the back of the students mind
    I think no one like's a lame teacher that'll bore you to death and have you drop out half way through the
    term........ :)
  • Mar 1 2014: yes AMY, teaching is not a field just that have to full fill the requirement of learning or filling empty brains. according to me teaching is the field that can completely fill the practical knowledge which is mostly required for the most of each human on this planet.......there fore pls make a practical pattern of teaching by which it makes every big concept to easy way of approaching it ......
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    Mar 1 2014: Anybody or everybody can play soccer; that is, if we consider every kicking of a ball as 'playing soccer'. Everybody can teach; but not everybody can teach like those who have the talent, skill, training and patience of a teacher.
    School teaching do have goals and guidelines; ethics and responsibilities.

    Before becoming a filmmaker I taught in a girls' school. As a young man I was teaching Senior Secondary School girls who were in their late teens while I was in my early twenties. Some other young teachers like me 'fell in love' with their pupils and got involved sexually with them. They were caught and the whole scandal swept them away.

    Did I not, like these young 'teachers' see the beautiful girls? I did. But my point is; not everybody that stands before a class and dispenses knowledge, is a teacher.

    Being a teacher is about being a leader; a leader in knowledge and intergrity. Knowledge? Seems common in this 21st century life. Intergrity? As rare as men like Mandela.
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      Mar 1 2014: You are right, of course, that there is great variation in the competence and effectiveness of people who might assume the role of teacher. I interpreted Amy's question as asking about what here is often called a "guest speaker" The mention of a small stipend suggested to me she did not mean someone who would come in and take the actual job of teacher for the year. That proposition would require significant training.
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        Mar 3 2014: That's correct, Fritzie. Classroom teaching requires a great deal of preparation. Becoming more of a regular guest speaker (at this point I'm calling them secondary instructors), shouldn't require much beyond content knowledge, passion for that content, and perhaps some storytelling skills.