I've spoken and written many times about loving to see the "light come on" on a student's face when he "gets it".
I've written a comment on another thread about that subject and I'm moving it here as another page. "Seeing the light come on" is being called "the click" on this thread. Whatever the name, it's that visible outward sign of the inner elation that floods the soul when someone "knows that he knows", that he "gets it". I believe that it is a MUST in a student's learning. It's that intrinsic reward that is even better than praise from another person.
Seeing that on a student's face is what drives me as a teacher, it's what makes me want to continue when I grow weary in my day. Here are my comments.
"The Click" -- It's Not Just for the Students
The 'click' is not only important for the learner.
It's what drives ME
, the teacher, on. It's what keeps me in the classroom. It's the one thing that makes me love teaching more than any other. I LOVE SEEING THE LOOK ON A STUDENT'S FACE WHEN THAT 'CLICK' HAPPENS IN HIS BRAIN!
I remember being interviewed for a new teaching position several years ago. I was asked why I liked teaching. I immediately said, "I love to see the light go on in a child's face when he's got it." Then afterward, I remember thinking "What a dumb answer! Couldn't you have thought of anything any more impressive, more academic?"
I later talked to my teaching partner, who later became my administrator about my answer. She said it was the perfect answer. That gave me some comfort that I wasn't off base.
Subsequentlly, I've been in on many interviews with perspective teachers at my school. I've been surprised at how many of them have said the exact same thing, in almost the same words.
I've since come to realize that it's what I need. It's really ALL I need. It's more important to me than the salary I get. Whether it's that student we all wish we had a million of (the one with the math mind) or it's the student who struggles to "get it", it matters not. Because when I see the light come on, that 'click', that huge, big smile, that makes my motor feel as if I can do this for another 20 years!
A student has to "know" he's got it. That gives him a sense of being successful. But guess what! That (seeing that the student 'knows' he's got it) is what gives me a sense of being successful also.
Yes, I know the feeling of the 'click' when I figure it out and 'know that I know' how to get the answer to a hard problem. It's a wonderful sense of accomplishment and success. But as the teacher, seeing that in a student gives me that same sense of accomplishment and success. I'VE GOT TO HAVE IT.
I could never teach from a pure 'constructivist' perspective, where you leave the student for days, weeks, maybe longer, to struggle, not knowing if what they have come up with will help them solve the problem.
I tutored a student who had been told to 'guess' at the approach. There was no sense of accomplishment and success in that student's life. WHAT A WASTE! Those guesses had proven 'wrong' so many times. What kind of a future was there in this student's mind, if all he/she had to hope for is to 'guess' at an attempt to get the answer??!!
So, give me the old fashioned 'instructivist' classroom, where I can use an 'instructivist' approach, where I can teach the students an algorithm (or make up one up if there are none), where I can teach procedures and steps to follow so the student can succeed in getting the right answer each time and enjoy that 'click' and feel that sense of accomplishment, where I can "see that light come on", where I can see the 'click'. I have to see it. I live for it.
IT GIVES ME ENERGY AS NOTHING ELSE DOES. IT MAKES ME LOVE MY JOB AS A TEACHER AS NOTHING ELSE DOES. IT MAKES ME LOVE TEACHING MATH AS NOTHING ELSE DOES. IT MAKES ME FEEL RICH.
It's my click!
- 22 Jul 2005
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