Understanding My Goal as a Teacher

Understanding My Goal as a Teacher

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Understanding My Goal as a Teacher

My curriculum class changed my view on life. It allowed me to realize
that my purpose in life is to be a teacher. My curriculum class
allowed me to discover my main goal in life as well as showing me how
difficult achieving that goal is.

It was not a class about spiral curriculum and lesson plan formats
that changed my view of life but rather the professor who lead me to
my own realizations about the world. Professor Federman, who ran my
class, showed me that everything in life is important and that in
order to teach well one must be devoted. Having taken this into
account I am going to attempt to understand my goal as a teacher, how
I will achieve that goal, and why I want to. I will use my experience
in Professor Federman's curriculum class, the book "Tea Life, Tea
Mind," and the movie "Kill Bill" to do so.

First, my goal as a teacher is: To make children actually WANT to
learn. In other words, I do not want to force children to learn, I
want to allow children to learn. I know that this goal sounds
idealized and romantic, and perhaps it is. I realize that I am young,
and because of that I am naïve but I am a helpless romantic and a
strong believer that children want to learn. The only thing keeping
children from learning is a poor education system. But if you wouldn't
mind I'd like to stick a pin in that and instead discuss the devotion
involved in being a teacher.

Devotion has almost become taboo in our time. To devote yourself
completely to something seems unfair. How can you as a person say that
you are willing to give up almost everything in order to do that one

Devoting yourself takes perseverance and a strong will. The book "Tea
Life, Tea Mind" discussed the devotion a Tea Master must have in order
to fully understand the Way of Tea. It is stated in the introduction

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of the book, "A monk once asked his master, 'No matter what lies
ahead, what is the Way?' The master quickly replied, 'The way is your
daily life.' This concept is at the very center of the Way of Tea. The
principles of the Way of Tea are directed toward all of one's
existence, not just the part that takes place in the tearoom." And
while it may sound ridiculous that these men and women are devoting
their lives to serve tea to others, it is realized through the
principles of the Way of Tea that this tea is not just tea. "..The Way
of Tea is something that teaches, through serving and receiving a bowl
of tea, a way of life." Just from these two quotes it is easy to see
the relationship between being a Tea Master and a teacher.

"A student once asked his teacher, 'No matter what lies ahead, how do
I teach?' The teacher quickly replied, 'You teach through daily life.'
This concept is at the very center of teaching. The principles of
teaching are directed toward all of one's existence, not just the part
that takes place in the classroom." This rewording of this quotation
explains the devotion that teaching really takes. It explains that
once you decide to become a teacher it becomes the center of your
life. For me personally as soon as I decided I wanted to teach I began
to realize things that I needed to improve upon in order to be a good
teacher. In everything I do I think of myself as a teacher, the same
way in everything a Tea Master does he is a Tea Master. Also this
quote reminds me that I need to live my life fully in order to run my
classroom because I know that my students will learn most from me that
way. What I mean by this is my students will learn best if I have life
experiences that I can relate to what I am teaching them. "You teach
through daily life."

As "Tea Life, Tea Mind" states the Way of Tea is to teach a way of
life through a cup of tea. In a sense, to me, that is what a teacher
is expected to do. A teacher is expected to teach children a certain
way of life. A teacher is expected to teach her students how to be a
functional citizen of his/her community. It is expected that schools
show students what is important to his/her community so that when the
student leaves the school system he/she understands the culture he/she
is entering. Society expects schools to produce productive citizens
and in order to be productive the students must be informed. That is
the teacher's task, to make sure her students are informed. Using the
priniciples of the Way of Tea I plan to inform my students that
learning is enjoyable and valuable.

The story line of "Kill Bill" is one of revenge. The revenge of a
Samurai, revenge against people the Samurai once cared for greatly but
because of who she was and what had happened to her she had to carry
out her revenge. This movie shows the devotion a Samurai has the same
way "Tea Life, Tea Mind" showed the devotion a Tea Master has. In one
scene, particularly, the strong emotions involved in this Samurai's
devotion to her revenge rip into the hearts of the viewers. In this
scene the Samurai finds her long last friend and current enemy, O-Ren
Ishii. After a long battle with a number of O-Ren's bodyguards, the
two long last Samaria friends met in a snowy Japanese garden. There
the two begin to battle and after both had been wounded they back
slowly into their respective corners. This is where the devotion of a
Samurai shows, the devotion to never give up on a fight, the will to
complete a battle, a mission. And as the two woman stand in their
corners, tears streaming down their faces, they pay their respects to
each other as friends and prepare to fight until one can no longer

This scene I feel shows devotion in a powerful way. Now I realize that
this devotion to kill is not a devotion that one should be praising
but when trying to understand devotion this extreme I feel makes the
feeling real. This reminds me that there has to be a reason for your
devotion. This Samurai was devoted to her revenge and it makes me
wonder what my devotion really is. I am devoted to teaching but why?
The only real answer I can think of is anger. I am devoted to teaching
because I am angry. I am angry because even though I went to a blue
ribbon school my whole life I feel my education was not a good
education. I had good teachers but all together I did not learn and
because of that I am angry. I am angry to see most of my peers did not
learn very much from their schooling either. This makes me angry and
because of that I am devoted to changing education.

Now going back to that pin, my goal as an educator or I should
restate, what I think my goal as an educator is that I should allow my
students to learn, not make them. I realize, as I stated before, that
this is an extremely romantic idea but I do believe that children have
an innate want to learn that schools have somehow taken away. I
realize that because of principals and parents and laws and thousands
of other reasons, I will not be able to allow the children in my class
to learn whatever they want to learn while I simply help. Although I
do think that children should be learning in this way in public
schools I do realize that that is not going to be the case anytime
soon, so in the mean time I plan on teaching my students to learn in
order to learn. I know that that concept seems obvious; of course you
learn to learn. But the question is: do you really? I know that I,
along with many of my peers, cram for exams. That is not learning to
learn that is trying to memorize in order to regurgitate information
on a test. My goal is to show my students that it is fun to learn.

I want my students to be excited to go to school and I don't mean just
while they are in my class. I want to get to the students while they
are young and show them that they can enjoy learning even if it seems
boring. I realize that I can not make every subject that I teach fun
for everyone but I will be able to make most subjects interesting for
most students and that's what is important.

I suppose that my main goal really is to enjoy my time with each one
of my students. My goal as a teacher is to help students feel that
being educated is important and enjoyable. I want to get to know my
students and I want to have personal experience with them so that I
can fully explain to them what it is that will make learning
interesting for them.

In order to complete my goal as an educator I realize that I must have
a balance between the devotion of a Tea Master and a Samurai. I have
to be a fully devoted teacher. I must be calm, peaceful and caring the
way a Tea Master is towards her devotion to the Way of Tea. While I
must also be strong, driven, and shrewd the way a Samurai is towards
her devotion to a battle. It is the balance of the two that I must
achieve. In order to complete my goal as an educator I must be calm
and caring while working with my students. I must act as a Tea Master
in my classroom, fully respecting my students while presenting a way
of life to them in order for them to be comfortable and willing to
learn. I must act as a Samurai when my methods are questioned or I
feel that a student will just never be interested. It is important
that I never give up the way a Samurai will never give up and I must
always be a peaceful perfectionist the way a Tea Master is only then
will I be the teacher I wish to be.
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