Being Human

Our first two interviews with teachers both shared common characteristics. What stood out most between the two interviews was the idea that it is important for teachers to be human. Both teachers said that their favorite teachers were people who they could talk with about their ideas, what aspects of what they were learning excited them, and what they were curious about outside of the classroom.

Both teachers said that when they were in school, interacting with teachers individually was very uncommon. Both said as students they were expected to learn information and then test on it. Having a relationship with teachers outside of simply receiving information from them was unusual.

One teacher said that his favorite teacher made him find joy in English because the way  in which he talked about literature excited him. The teacher was very casual with his students, a stark contrast to the non intimate, frequently strict teachers he had in other classes. He recollected how surprised he was occasionally hearing his English teacher curse in class when they were reading The Catcher in The Rye.

Both teachers said their favorite parts of the day were teaching when they were able to interact with students. This is what made them excited, this is where they derived energy.

Both interviews gave us a sense of how crucial student and teacher interactions are. It is important for teachers to be human, to be themselves in front of a classroom rather than remain in a strict “teacher who teaches students” role. This makes a teacher robotic, like a metal prophet dispensing knowledge in front of the room rather than someone with which to share knowledge. Both teachers also remarked how their teaching evolves from what they learn from students. The robotic role of teaching fails to acknowledge how much teachers learn from students, that both teachers and students are learners.

Being a human implies being a learner because if one does not learn from the world around them, they might as well be dead. People are innately curious. When teachers play as a robot in front of the room without interacting with students or letting them wonder and ask questions, they are only acknowledging students as students who receive information in class rather than learners who are curious about the world. This in turn makes learners who are curious about the world grow into students who are focused on receiving information in school to achieve high grades. This creates a constant loop in which both students and teachers constantly reaffirm each other’s roles as robotic information givers and receivers rather than as mutual learners.


(Mindmaps of the interviews)


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