I thought about REC'ing this as a testimonial, but I'm having trouble remembering certain details, so I'd rather take my time and get it right.
I walked into my first sociology class of the college semester about five minutes late. Being that I'm a creature of punctuality and that I hate making bad first impressions, I was happy to find that the teacher was not yet there either.
I found a seat (one of only two left empty), and waited quietly with the rest of the class for our instructor to arrive. It seems I wasn't the only one who was off to a late start that day as another student soon clomped noisily into the room. He carelessly removed his backpack, which fell on the floor with a thud, and plopped down in the other empty seat.
The guy wore work boots with an unncessary amount of buckles,...
The first industrial technology class of the school year was supposed to have started fifteen minutes ago, but my classmates and I sat in awkward silence. The teacher, a goateed man in a white button-down shirt and tie, simply stared back at us from his desk with a smirk plastered across his face. Previous classes of middle school students had warned us that Mr. S wasn’t your average teacher.
In fact, Mr. S refused to call himself a teacher, but rather a “learning facilitator.” With a heavy emphasis on preparing students for the harsh realities of the “real world,” his teaching style was hardly to teach at all. He believed that students should take an active role in their learning, working as a team to solve problems.
On that first day, deciphering Mr. S’s expectations of us was our biggest problem. We realized that class wasn’t going to begin until we took initiative. Before class, Mr. S had written “printing press,” “photography,” and “computers” on the board with a numbered blank list under each word. Driven to courage by boredom, we decided to approach the board and write our names under one of those categories.
“What you signed up for is now your project and your team,” Mr. S finally spoke. “Now get to work.”
The class instantly complained. “How can we do this without any help?” one student asked.
But Mr. S remained a man of few words. “There are books on the shelf,” he replied.
We looked around the classroom, but no books or shelves were in sight. Just outside of the classroom, however, was an open room with a large metal cabinet that students who previously had Mr. S had told us contained the directions. Sure enough, we found instructions to begin our first lessons on the printing press, darkroom, and computer.
We stalled a bit in the beginning, expecting Mr. S to step back into a typical teacher role, but he was unwavering. Mr. S would reply to any question we had with another question or with a riddle to unravel. When we’d make a mistake, he’d say, “Oh, shucky duck!” A trimester of learning by trial and error had begun.
As we adjusted to Mr. S’s teaching style, he began to share more of his life philosophies with us. He told us that we should not simply look but see and not only hear but listen. Average students, he explained, are “boxed-in”—afraid to explore possibilities, make mistakes, and take risks. They are more concerned about their grades than their education. Mr. S expected us instead to become learners, motivated to seek knowledge without the constant supervision of a teacher.
Mr. S admitted that he wanted to make academic life more difficult for his students, and as a student who wasn’t always challenged enough in school, I thrived in trying to solve his mysteries. His class kept me on my toes and helped me gain more confidence in my abilities to adapt to any situation.
Not everyone, however, felt the same as I did. A few years after my first encounter with Mr. S, I heard that he was fired following extensive complaints about his teaching practices. Mr. S used to say that “adversity is the spice of life.” I guess most parents, students, and administrators thought that adversity shouldn’t come from your teacher.
I minored in art at Texas A&I University in Kingsville.
They now call it Texas A&M University at Kingsville, but it's not. It's Texas A&I.
My art professor, Dr. R, was also the head of the art department.
I was raised in small South Texas towns and had never really been anywhere.
Naive...I was naive.
Dr. R "took a liking" to me.
He was tough but fair with all the students.
For our final exam we had to produce 3 art projects.
My first project was a painting of my wife (yes, married at 19) in an old chair we bought at a garage sale.
It was entitled, "Girl in Pink Chair".
I painted it entirely with a palette knife...and it was pretty darn good.
My second project, "The Bird", was a bird made from my wife's hair rollers, combs, hair clips, etc...which I had assembled the night before, using...
EVERYONE: Share your stories and examples of unique teaching methods you've experienced.
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