On Being a Teacher – Part 2

January 23, 2009 · 2 comments

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, criticize.

If you read yesterday’s post all the way to the end and did, in fact, hit that “RSS” button up top, thank you for subscribing to this feed.  If you read yesterday’s post all the way through and didn’t hit the “RSS” button, that’s cool too.  Either way, you know that this post is a continuation.  If you haven’t read yesterday’s post and are wondering why I keep referring to “yesterday’s post“, click one of the links to “yesterday’s post” from the five times I’ve mentioned it in this paragraph, and you’ll be able to follow this discussion (dumbass).

So the question we left off with is:  What, then, am I qualified to teach right now?  Not much.

I’ve had some success in the temp industry – I know how to put a resume together, register and interview with a temp agency, follow up on their posts on the job boards, and generally bug them until they give me work.  I also know how to not get fired from a temp gig:  show up on time and do everything they tell me to do – this, by the way, is also an excellent way not to get fired from a permanent gig as well.  I know how to get the next temp gig after the one I’m working on:  work as many hours as they’ll let me (that way, the temp agency makes more money – and, incidentally, so do I).  I’ve had proven experience with all of these, and even experienced getting brought on permanently from a temp gig (that’s how I got my current permanent gig).

I found out not too long ago that I’m qualified to teach 7th grade math.  This started out as tutoring a buddy in his college pre-algebra class; we didn’t find out that it was in fact 7th grade math until he looked up some extra exercises on the internet.  Man, did we have a good laugh about that (my buddy is 49).  I must present a caveat here, though:  my buddy received either a low B or a high C in this class (and he worked very hard with me and by himself, picking up all the extra credit he could along the way).  The moral of the caveat is that I might not be a very good 7th grade math teacher.

I’m qualified to teach various aspects of the proxy solicitation and corporate governance consulting process – but seriously, who in their right mind would want to learn that stuff?  I can also teach how to make warm and cold calls (just do it – again and again and again).

I may be qualified to teach very low level survey classes in philosophy or law, but I don’t know that I fit my own definitition of “qualification” or quite reach my aforementioned high ideals regarding teachers.  Either one – teaching philosophy or law – would be fun though.  Yeah, scratch part of the previous:  I don’t think I have the necessary success to teach either.  I may have a good degree of practical experience in philosophy, though my academic experience/credentials may be somewhat lacking.  As to law, well, I have some modicum of practical experience in that, but I don’t know that I want to go into the details as the anectdotal evidence may actually qualify as “the unauthorized practice of law”.

I am NOT qualified to teach internet dating according to the success standard, though maybe according to the experience standard.  My email-to-actual-date ratios are very low and I don’t know that that’s characteristic of my peer group.  I have often thought about writing a book called “How Not to Internet Date”, but aside from the humor factor, who would want to read it?  The quality of the dates I’ve been on depends entirely upon the definition of “quality”.  The possible number of scales to use when judging this adjective as a standard for success is definitely beyond the scope of this post.  Let’s just say that, for the most part, I have enjoyed those dates, and that’s good enough for me. 

I’m qualified to teach rowing (scull and sweep).  Definitely.  Sometimes I am invited to do just that for my college crew team’s spring training.

I am qualified to teach just about any job in the service industry – bartending, waiting tables, party planning, booze ordering (both kinds), bar/restaurant management, etc.

I’m qualified to teach hiking:  Keep walking in the woods.  Climb mountains.  Get maps.  Stay on the trail.  Pick up trash.  Say “hi; beautiful day” to anyone you pass along the way (even if it’s cold, rainy, or stiflingly hot).  Buy more gear to make the hard parts easier.  I have had much experience and success with hiking.  I am qualified to teach basic orienteering (how not to get lost when hiking) – off and on a trail.  I am qualified to teach bushwacking to the summit of a mountain (keep going up until there isn’t anything higher than you).

I am also qualified to teach learning:  Read everything you can.  Ask questions of anyone who seems to know more than you.  Weigh their answers against the other things you’ve learned so far (and discern, discern, discern).  Keep an open mind.  Ask for help.  Be kind and respectful in questioning.  Try, try, try.

And above all:  make lots of mistakes.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie January 23, 2009 at 17:42

What about teaching Awesomeness!


niceguyted January 23, 2009 at 18:45

Well, I don’t know that I can exactly TEACH awesomeness, but I certainly try to be like you and bring it with me wherever I go. ;-)

“Hey! Who brought the awesomeness? … Oh yeah, Katie did!”


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