Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Teach While You're at It

The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 5th, 2015

Not long before the winter break, I ran into a colleague from another department at the cafeteria coffee station. We spoke about the break to come, and he said, "I can’t wait to get some of my own work done."
That phrase—"my own work"—has bugged me for my entire career. It’s always used to distinguish research from teaching, but how does teaching not qualify as "my own work"?
Other workplaces, like the military, seem to value teaching more than academe does. People generally don’t think of the armed forces in that way, but that’s because most of us recall the caricatures of military training, like the vividly foul-mouthed drill sergeant in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. I recently interviewed Samuel Grafton, a Marine helicopter pilot, who said in an email that it’s a "common misconception that the military teaches by yelling and corrects by punishment." That’s just in basic training. The rest of the time, Grafton says, military instructors "take their time, explain the reasons why things are the way they are, and give their students every chance to succeed."

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