The roots of education are bitter
, but the fruit is sweet
I often wish that I was back in kindergarten
, where naptime was encouraged and playtime was required. The books we read were designed to capture
our interest, with their colorful pictures and memorable stories. Back then it all seemed so simple
. Learning was a form of entertainment, and the teachers and parents were only concerned with our education
. Stupid questions didn't exist, and the phrase "talk to the T.A." was meaningless. Somewhere along the path
from then to now I've observed that many teachers have forgotten
the one and only purpose of teaching: to enrich
the knowledge of their students. Basically, the process of education as a kid was intriguing and discussed every night at the dinner table. However, as Bob Dylan
said 35 years ago, "the times they are a changin'."
My university has some incredibly intelligent and talented teachers. Some of those I've had here have been the best and most influential of my life. However, I have also encountered just as many who are more concerned with their personal work and teach simply based on structure. The more enthusiastic a teacher is, the more excited his or her students will be about the class material. In addition, the more interactive a class is, whether it is with the teacher or with other students, the more interested the students will stay. There is nothing harder than paying attention to a monotonous lecturing off of a blackboard full of notes for two hours. I assume that everything we learn here must be important and of interest to some people, or it wouldn't be taught at a university. I think if a professor enjoys a subject enough to teach it, he or she should put in every effort to manifest the importance and interest of it.
College classes are inherently flawed because of the importance placed on Teaching Assistants. These people are all graduate or doctorate students and have their own schoolwork to worry about, and they simply do not have the same experience as a professor. I have had many classes where it was required that all questions be addressed to the teaching assistant, whether it be through e-mail or visiting office hours. This is a ridiculous way of getting an education, especially at the price of $30,000 a year. However, I realize that there is a scarcity of teachers and that this is something a school cannot control. This is actually why I hope to be a teacher when I'm older, because there is a desperate need for them and I understand the importance they can have on a person. Unfortunately, this dilemma will always hamper universities because there is simply very little that can be done to fix it.
I understand that college teachers have many aspects to their lives and have a difficult job. For example, one of my university’s proclaimed benefits is that it has small classes. However, at least half of the classes I have taken have been in large lecture halls where all the desks are crammed together. The other half of my classes have been in incredibly small classrooms where the 30 people enrolled can barely fit. Small class sizes are a nice advertisement for the school, but my univeristy’s Philosophy Building is a perfect example of the irony I'm talking about. While this obviously hurts the students, it also makes it harder for a teacher to comfortably conduct a class. Also, professors have their own interests and personal goals that lie outside their teaching career.
However, if he or she decides to become a teacher, they should do it with the full intention of placing it higher than any other job or commitments they may have. To see this from a different angle, think about how the world is going to work in 30 years. Teachers will be at the age where they can finally cash in on their social security checks and get their refund for years of paying taxes. However, the amount of money they will get depends on how intelligent our generation is and how well we can run our economy. The prosperity of their kids and grandchildren rely on how well we our educated to live and thrive in the "real world." I think this should give teachers enough motivation to put all their efforts into their job. Unfortunately there are many problems that we will face as we get older, such as global warming, an inevitable war, and a more competitive global economy. Our education will tremendously affect our country as well as the rest of the world, and many people will be dependent on our success.
Perhaps one person can't change the world, but at least they can give it a shove.