“Teaching is the art of conveying the delight that comes from an act of the spirit, without ever giving anyone the notion that the delight comes easy.”
(Source: Norman F. Maclean, “This Quarter I am Taking McKeon”: A Few Remarks on the Art of Teaching, U. Chi. Mag., Jan./Feb. 1974)
Although I am 100% committed to teaching, I have been doubting myself that I won’t be able to teach that long. I feel more comfortable with asking questions than answering questions. I am hesitant to say “I know it!” It is my curiosity, not my confidence in my knowledge, that motivates me to learn and teach.
The quote above, which was cited in the article titled “Becoming Lawyers,” defines what teaching is without using words like learning, transmitting knowledge, or instruction. If “an act of the spirit” in the quote is deep thinking and teaching is about inviting students to join my journey to be a better thinker, I guess teaching can be my life-long vocation. I see a glimpse of hope that maybe I am on the right track to be a teacher.
” Learning is not merely about accumulating facts. It is internalizing the relationships between pieces of information… The expert doesn’t think more about a subject, she thinks less. She doesn’t have to compute the effects of a range of possibilities. Because she has domain expertise, she anticipates how things will fit together (89).
Creativity consists of blending two discordant knowledge networks (92).”
(From The Social Animal by David Brooks)
Despite frenetic days crammed with lab activities, I secure some hours during my weekends and try to devote this time to thinking and writing about what I’ve read and heard during the weekdays. Starting with one piece of information, I add my thoughts and my own interpretation, relate them to my daily life, and bring in other information from different sources that look irrelevant at the first glance. During this process, discrete thoughts come together and mold into something new.
The fact that I know something doesn’t make me smart. It’s whether I understand how it connects to other entities that matters. Each ingredient sitting on a kitchen table wouldn’t do much. It’s the act of mixing things and adding some forms of energy to change their states that creates a dish. Everyone can buy the best ingredients, but only few understand the relationship between ingredients and know what to mix and how to cook.
Cook the information/facts. Then, you can call it knowledge.
p.s. The quotes above left me a question; how can a teacher help students apprehend and practice the true learning process described in the quotes?