About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

People who inspire me

I have been thinking recently that the biggest role of the instructor is to motivate and inspire students to learn, to take risks, and to try new things that may flop initially, but can lead to even greater knowledge. However, a benefit is to learn from students as they go through their journey.

With this in mind, I have a few students that stick out in my mind as inspiring to any teacher.

One of my students was the child of an immigrant. The eldest of 6, he came to me three weeks before the end of the semester to explain that he had to drop out of my class, but that he had enjoyed the class. His mother had breast cancer and he had to be home for his siblings, as his father was barred from the house under order of protection, and my student was afraid his father would return to cause problems. I explained to him that he could work out a study plan with his professors, and I am glad to say that he not only stayed in school, but managed to graduate (only 2 semesters late) and receive his citizenship.

Another one of my students was a single mother, semi-retired from the air force. She gave me one of the best tips on reconciling a checkbook (if the difference is a derivative of 9, you have a number reversed). She was one of the best teachers I have ever seen in action, and she motivated me to learn how to do web pages.

Three of my students have been from inner city New York. Two of them in my public speaking class had me riveted as they gave an insight into the issues of living in inner city New York. Their passion and conviction made me encourage them to present the speech in a more public forum (although I don't think they ever did). The third was a teacher who taught technology at a grade school in Harlem. She told about the most up to date technology they had at their finger tips in a school that was falling apart around them and which needed to have the circuit breaker tripped at least once a day due to the power surges caused by the use of the technology. She worked in the worst conditions and would not trade her job for anything. Rather, she wanted to find resources so the school could be upgraded and create opportunities for her students to make change within the system.

Finally, I have had many students who approach learning with a great deal of enthusiasm. I currently have a student who's enthusiasm is contagious. Others in the class seem to feed off his energy to learn. The first day of class, he looked through notes from a previous class (the semester before) to answer the question. He asks questions (sometimes hard to answer) and wants to understand when he doesn't get something right. I had similar students last year who were never content with just going through the motions. They would disagree with what I said, ask for clarification, or give examples of exceptions to what I presented. These students push me to change my classes every semester, to learn new things, and research their questions when I don't know the answer.

Who inspires you?

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