Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Murphy and DiPardo

So I was thinking about Monday's class discussion concerning whether or not a tutor should go into a session expecting to learn something from it/make a change (whether the change be significant or minor). It reminded me of a debate (that turned into a near-full out argument) I had with a friend once about the expectations of teachers, especially English teachers. A newspaper article referenced a letter to the editor concerning past and recent movies displaying ideal, unique teaching practices. Some of the movies mentioned included Freedom Writers and The Dead Poet Society, and the article talked about how these movies set up unrealistic expectations of teachers to become "heros" in the classrooms. The movies are about English teachers that drastically change students' perspectives on writing and literature, and both the article and the letter to the editor agreed that this was unrealistic. My friend and I were talking about it, and he said that he also agrees. I was not too upset at this point; I agree that the situations in movies are ideal. However, what I disagree with is the idea that teachers should go into the classroom not expecting/hoping to have a significant impact on students. My friend said (and I'll never forget this), "teaching is just another occupation. You go in, do your job, and clock out." I'm not becoming a teacher, but this idea upset me anyways. I know that teachers can't be expected to change each and every student's life in a dramatic way, and I recognize that the stress of attempting to do so would be overwhelming. However, I am a huge believer in the idea that if you don't go into an occupation like teaching (or tutoring to get more on topic) with the mentality that you want to go the extra distance to impact lives, then you never will. I believe that like it or not, teachers should want to have some impact on students, whether it is small or large; teaching (to me anyways) is not "just another occupation." To bring this not so short story back to tutoring and what we talked about in class, I think that if every tutor was out to "counsel" each "patient" and expected to make significant breakthroughs in each session, then he/she would be sorely disappointed. However, I think tutors should at least realize the added responsibility of attempting to make those little breakthroughs/learn something minor from each session, or else that tutor will never really impact anyone at all.

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