TEACHING (re-post)

Filed Under (TEACHING, work.BLOG.MEM) by WildFire on 16-01-2008

Leigh, still pining for that Incubus concert, pointed me last week to a nice blog that talked about teaching.

My first reactions to this were...

'This is isn't teaching... this is baby sitting!'

Beh-bee... sitting!

(Mind... is... fighting... The. Dark. Forces... that are pushing the fingers to link to that Babysitters pron dvd link. Must. Not. Link. Must... not.)


Spoonfeeding... included.

With matching twinkidoos woochoo woochoo.

(And those endless-but-always-entertaining (to a two year old (not you (sadly))) Barney reruns.)


The way we view teaching differ.

These views differ from one person to the other... from one place to another place.

If you're a student, probably teaching for you is different when you're an actual teacher.

It must be.

Then again it depends on if you're a lazy student or the other. That is... a lazier student.

Now if you're a teacher it depends also whether you're still that renegade fresh out of college aspiring to change the world.

Or... that veteran-tired-of-changing the-world-nothing-still-happens so-let's-just-give-them-all-passing-grades so-everyone-can-be-HAPPY!

Then the view that most of us tend to overlook... the ADMIN/OWNER-of-the-school's point of view.

(Yes... in CAPS LOCK (And yes I do use that CAPS LOCK so forget those petitions to remove that key in the standard keyboard lay-out (Go strain yourselves, shit-err-shift-lovin'-humans)))

To these admins, failing grades lead to less enrollees... less enrollees lead to less income to cover the expenses.

Less income leads to fear. Fear leads to to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

I won't even delve into the profit part.

Not all admins really.

We've worked closely enough with around 25 private and semi-public schools/universities for the past 9 years to realize that there are still those who are wiling to sacrifice income for a better quality of education.

Good luck to them.

To us database programmers working for schools and universities, we see those teachers only as records.

A row in the database file.

Until they start bitchin' and whining and doing that I know it all attitude.

That and their endless delays in submissions of records with erroneous IDs/Names that fvcks up the spag-recursive powered checking of our systems.

Back to that blog.

After reading that one... I searched Parcel (my primary PC) for a file I made eight years ago.


I scribbled that fresh out of college.

Fresh from the sufferings and tortures endured during my own comsci student life.

It's blood I smell... and 'Revenge' chants were still vibrating in my brain. (With matching rubbing of palms and evil grin)

Probably those growling 'Seek-For-Revenge' howls were the ones that subliminally triggered me to accept that junior database programmer job for TheUniversity's computer center (later renamed to MIS).

I can teach part time in the same workplace... in between coding.

I'll get my chance at ThatRevenge.

Payback time, baby.

Payback time.

Before I drag you more into this revenge mindset let me post the un-altered contents (except for the hyperlinks and minimal comments) of that file.

Please note that these were my views/principles/way of life 10 years ago.

I was in my 20s then... still aiming to change the world one starfish at a time.

That of course and the quest for TheRevenge.

Probably if things permit, I might be accepting a teaching gig again.

And I might still be following these things.

TEACHINGPrinciples.txt circa 1998

Never lecture what can be read in the book... clarify some parts but re-lecturing what is already there is pure bullshit. (Yes I cursed a lot in text files back then.)

Some questions must not be answered by the teacher unless the student has spent one week without sleeping trying to solve the said problem.

Considerate teachers produce lousy students. Period.

Only wimps check attendances and uniforms.

Two words: TOUGH LOVE. Sometimes you have to punish them for them to learn... you can't bring a soldier to war by baby-sitting him/her in his/her training... college ground is a training ground and believe me... it's a war out there.

Give more than enough time for a given project but don't remind... it makes no difference... they'll still be doing it at the last minute.

Give extensions and stretched deadlines as much as they can possibly be given... hehe i'm quite soft on this one... but i was asking for much extensions when i was a student... it's about time i give something kind for that kindness shown to me before.

Challenge them... even to the point of de-humanizing their souls.

People first before subject matter... college doesn't really mean you're teaching the subject matter alone.

Always believe in that 'Smooth seas do not produce skillful sailors' notion... as well as John Patrick Mason's (Sean Connery) 'Losers always whine about their best winners go home and f-ck the prom queen' line. (From The Rock)

Others including you have done it before... there's no way an impossible problem can't be solved.

... and always make them smile even if you're doing the things mentioned above.

Tough love... it is.

Learning… Programming… Basketball and Teddy Bears

Filed Under (Random.scribbles, TEACHING) by WildFire on 04-12-2004

If self study doesn't work, nothing will ever work!

Uhm. That I think is the first time I used ASCII 21 here in my blogs. (It's 21 because I'm using hex. It would be 33 in Decimal and 41 in Octal.)

OK... if you still haven't figured that out, it means it's the first time I used the exclamation point (!) character.

Anyway, this line just barfed out when I was arguing with my lovely programming student this evening. For those who know me from the previous place and are wondering if I have dived into the teaching profession once again... no I did not.

(I wanted to, really... I miss torturing students, but right now I don't have extra time.)

I'm just teaching someone to code... and if you're following this blog, you know who she is.

Programming is not taught. It is practiced. You do a lot of RTFM-in'. (If you don't know what RTFM is, RTFM.)

You should never expect the teacher to spoon feed things. Besides the spoon does not exist... nor the teacher. It is the drive, the passion that moves you to learn programming.

The curiousity that lies within the hacker's soul is your tool.

('Hacker'... in the proper sense of the word... and not the term the media has misused, twisted, sensationalized and abused for years already.)

Like every quest in this world, passion is one of the main things that drives and ignites you to move forward.

In a way, learning how to program is like learning how to play basketball.

You would never learn even if Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would talk in front of you for 10 hours a day (for 12 months... for 100 years), teaching you the mechanics of things without you practicing it yourself, without you going out to hold the ball.

You will never learn basketball if you just hold the ball, aim and be contented. You have to perfect things... perfect the crossover move... the lay-up and if you're lucky enough, the slam dunk.

You must have passion... to do it every day... every hour if needed...

... until you can be proud of yourself, until you are effective.

Then you expand your court to the streets, meet new enemies and be clobbered, blocked and be humiliated in every sense. Sometimes you get kneed, elbowed and punched.

(Yes that's how basketball is played sometimes.)

But you learn. You learn the hard way. The harder the better.

You practice again... you face the opponent, conquer and move on to a bigger world.

Bigger challenges.

Of course there's a possibility that you get clobbered a thousand times before you can move on.

... which is good.

Because you'll never learn the game and be good at it if you play one on one with your neighbor's cuddly teddy bear.

You gain knowledge, you gain experience... you gain wisdom.

Wise enough to know that both a mighty dunk and simple shot scores two points in the statistics department. But wise enough too to know the difference between the two and when to use it.

But that my student would be another story for now.

I don't think I have to spoon feed what MJ, the ball, the passion, the learning process, the dunk, the teddy bear and every component in that metaphor symbolizes here.

More on this later... (I need to chop things, it's gettin long already.)