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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: nirvines88 on February 28, 2015, 02:59:12 PM

Title: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: nirvines88 on February 28, 2015, 02:59:12 PM
I'm a teacher and always looking for further inspiration/advice to do my job better. I want to hear about the best education experiences of the MMM forum folks, especially ones that I can steal and use in my classroom.

For this thread, include:

1) A brief description of your favorite classroom teacher and why that teacher was great at his/her job.
2) What was your favorite lesson as a student? This should include information about what was being taught in the lesson and the type of lesson, such as lecture, group work, making a video, skits, hands on activity, etc.

Notes for part 2:
*Your favorite lesson does not necessarily have to come from your favorite teacher mentioned in part 1.
**Make sure that it's actually a lesson where you LEARNED something.
***I teach history, so bonus points if you include your favorite history lesson in part 2!
Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: nirvines88 on February 28, 2015, 03:05:06 PM
I'll start!

1) My high school European history teacher.  She lectured nearly everyday for nearly the whole class, but she was super passionate about her subject matter, funny, and not afraid to tell us the scandalous details of various European figures' personal lives (e.g. the sex lives of European monarchs, who had the consistent habit of marrying their cousins!).  She also challenged us to become better listeners, note takers, writers, critical thinkers, and to think like a historian. 

2) In my Lessons of Vietnam class we had to make videos on various topics, like illegal immigration and the Vietnam War itself.  My friends and I made some videos that were probably not appropriate for class (e.g. simulating jungle warfare by pretending to ambush one of my friends with a huge bowie knife and using ketchup as fake blood!), but we had a great time doing it and learned a bit about making videos and recent U.S. history in the process.

Part 2 was much harder to answer than part 1!  Definitely harder to remember the content than the people.
Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: sandandsun on February 28, 2015, 06:28:06 PM
I'll be honest, history was always my least favorite subject in school- it just seemed so dry and I absolutely hated memorizing dates and geographic details. 
Fast forward to present- I can't get enough of it... When we dropped cable a year+ ago, started watching PBS docs and loved them... Wife has always been into the 60's/kennedys, and we started catching up on 50's forward US history...
I think the difference is being able to see historical figures as real people- that never happened from a textbook for me.  I can see how scandalous details (that previous posters remembered) would help to do that.

I taught HS science for a few years and teach on the college level now.  The are a many ways to hold students attention, but I'll agree with other posters that when you can tell the instructor cares about the subject matter, that goes a lot further than technology or other hacks...

Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: wordnerd on February 28, 2015, 06:40:12 PM
My favorite lessons were the ones I could tell my teachers were enjoying. My 12th grade AP English teacher was passionate about Jane Austen, and though I didn't think I'd like it (too prissy, I'm assumed, for my cynical 17 year old self), her enthusiasm was infectious. And, I ended up really appreciating the book.

Since you're a history teacher, I'll add that I loved my 11th grade US History teacher, Miss Yee. She was able to talk about the more painful parts of US history with empathy and grace. She was able to incorporate more accessible/narrative historical items into lessons, like reading excerpts from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle when we studying regulation. She also had an exercise where she would write three questions on the board at the beginning of the class (usually about pop culture or current events), and we'd write down three short answers (1-2 sentences each) and turn them before we started the lesson. It got us thinking and usually tied into the lesson somehow. She was also funny as hell and advised us that are essays should be "like a skirt--long enough to cover everything and short enough to keep it interesting."
Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: Retired To Win on March 01, 2015, 06:41:46 AM
When I started reading the original post, my Ecology professor in college immediately sprung to mind.  But reading further, what had come to my mind wouldn't meet the parameters of the op question. What the hell!  Let me tell it anyway.

This "hugest" lesson I got from my Ecology professor did not come from a class.  It came from a conversation I had with him in his office.  I wanted to embark on a project that would require grant money.  He was a super-successful grant getter, so I asked him for advice.  And what he told me was to not wait for a grant to start the project.  "Start the project, THEN apply for grants," he said.  "That way, your project won't be hypothetical anymore; it will be real and stand out from the other applications," he added.

And damned if he wasn't right.  I got the grants, the project led to bigger and better things for me, and the rest is history.

As I went through life after that conversation, I applied that idea over and over.  Get it started.  Get it going.  Make it real.  And I really think that has made all the difference for me.
Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: Beardog on March 01, 2015, 07:10:21 AM
My favorite lesson comes from an advanced 2 credit college Physics lab that took 3-4 hours of class time and many, many hours afterwards to write up the report.  One lab report was over 50 pages long.  We would come into the lab to work areas set up with equipment we had never seen before with one or two pages of instruction and a manual for the equipment and we were expected to figure it out working in pairs with minimal help from our instructor.

While I remember very little of the physics principles the labs were meant to illustrate, the priceless lesson that I learned and which I have benefited from over and over in my life is that I am capable of independently facing challenging technical problems, researching them, and solving them.  This lesson also echoes into confidence in dealing with a wide variety of personal and life challenges. 
Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: nirvines88 on March 01, 2015, 02:32:32 PM
She was also funny as hell and advised us that are essays should be "like a skirt--long enough to cover everything and short enough to keep it interesting."

That's a classic quote, I used it with my upperclassmen a year ago and they couldn't stop laughing.
Title: Re: Favorite Teacher/Favorite Lesson EVER
Post by: Annamal on March 01, 2015, 05:24:30 PM
1. would be a tie between our incredibly passionate drama teacher (who helped organise our Shakespeare club) and our very passionate computer science teacher (who helped organise us into programming competitions and scholarships). Both loved their fields and worked hard for their students.

2. Not quite history but our 7th form classics class had one of our teachers getting us to read Aristophanes (The Frogs) out loud (it was one of the later translations where an effort had been made to keep a rhyming cadence and substitute the original Greek puns for similar English ones) taking turns at parts. There was the usual amount of sniggering but it really drove home both the crass humour and the topical Athenian politics. Some of us were better at it than others but overall it made the play come to life.

[edited to add] We also did the Wasps and it was something of a revelation to hear complaints about how frivolous and soft the youth were from >2000 years ago.