Every teacher probably asks himself time and again: What are the reasons for choosing teaching as a career? Do the rewards of teaching outweigh the trying moments? Answering these questions is not a simple task. Let's see what the author says.
WHY I TEACH
Peter G. Beidler Why do you teach? My friend asked the question when I told him that I didn't want to be considered fo r an administrative position. He was puz- zled that I did not want what was obviously a "step up" toward what all Americans are taught to want when they grow up: money and power.
5 Certainly I don't teach because teachingis easy for me. Teaehing is the most difficult of the various ways I have attempted to earn my living:me- chanic, carpenter, writer. For me, teaching is a red-eye, sweaty-palin, sinking-stomach profession.Red-eye,because I never feel ready to teach no matter how late I stay up preparing. Sweaty-palm, because I'm always ner- 10 vous before I enter the classroom, sure that I will be found out for the fool that I am. Sinking-stomach, because I leave the classroom an hour later convinced that I was even more boring than usual.
Nor do I teach because I think I know answers, or because I have knowledge I feel compelled to share. Sometimes I am amazed that my stu- 15 dents actually take notes on what I say in class ! Why, then, do I teach? I teach because I like the pace of the academic calendar. June, July, and August offer an opportunity for reflection, research, and writing.
I teach because teaching is a profession built on change. When the ma- 20 terial is the same, I change - and, more important, my students change. I teach because I like the freedom to make my own mistakes, to learn my own lessons, to stimulate myself and my students. As a teacher, I'm my own boss. If I want my freshmen to learn to write by creating their own textbook, who is to say I can't? Such courses may be huge failures, 25 but we can all learn from failures.
I teach because I like to ask questions that students must struggle to answer. The world is full of right answers to bad questions.While teach- ing, I sometimes find good questions.
I teach because I enjoy finding ways of getting myself and my students 30 out of the ivory tower and into the real world. I once taught a course called "Self-Reliance in a Technological Society." My 15 students read Emerson, Thoreau, and Huxley. They kept diaries. They wrote term papers.
But we also set up a corporation, borrowed money, purchased a run- down house and practiced self-reliance by renovating it. At the end of the 35 semester, we sold the house, repaid our loan, paid our taxes,and distribut- ed the profits among the group.
So teaching gives me pace, and variety, and challenge, and the oppor- tunity to keep on learning. I have left out, however, the most important reasons why I teach. 40 One is Vicky. My first doctoral student, Vicky was an energetic stu- dent who labored at her dissertation on a little-known l4th century poet. She wrote articles and sent them off to learned journals. She did it all her-self, with an occasional nudge from me.But I was there when she finished her dissertation, learned that her articles were accepted, got a job and won 45 a fellowship to Harvard working on a book developing ideas she'd first had as my student.
Another reason is George, who started as an engineering student, then switched to English because he decided he liked people better than things. There is Jeanne, who left college, but was brought back by her class- 50 mates because they wanted her to see the end of the self-reliance house pro- ject. I was there when she came back. I was there when she told me that she later became interested in the urban poor and went on to become a civil rights lawyer.
There is Jacqui, a cleaning woman who knows more by intuition than 55 most of us lear n by analysis. Jacqui has decided to finish high school and go to college. These are the real reasons I teach, these people who grow and change in front of me. Being a teacher is being present at the creation, when the clay begins to breathe.
60 A "promotion" out of teaching would give me money and power. But I have money. I get paid to do what I enjoy: reading, talking with people, and asking questions like, "What is the point of being rich?" And I have power. I have the power to nudge, to fan sparks, to sug- gest books, to point out a pathway. What other power matters?
65 But teaching offers saomething besides money and power: it offers love. Not only the love of learning and of books and ideas,but also the love that a teacher feels for that rare student who walks into a teacher's life and be-gins to breathe. Perhaps love is the wrong word: magic might be better. I teach because, being around ~eople who are beginning to breathe, I 70 occasionally find myself catching my breath with them.
administrative/ a. of the management of affairs 行政的, 管理的 administration/ n. 管理(部门),行政(机关) puzzle/ vt. fill with doubt and confusion 使迷惑 step(-)up n. promotion; increase in size,speed,etc. mechanic / n. skilled workman, esp. one who uses or repairs machines and tools 机械工; 机修工 sweaty / a. covered with sweat, sweating palm / a. 手掌 profession / n. occupation, esp. one requiring special training, such as law, medicine, or teaching convince / vt. make (sb.) feel certain; cause (sb.) to realize compel / vt. force (sb. or sth. to do sth.) pace/ n. rate or speed of development, or in walking, etc. 速度;步速 caiendar / n. 日程表,日历 opportunity/ n. favourable occasion or chance reflection / n. careful thinking; consideration 深思;考虑 reflect /vi. stlmulate / vt. encourage; excite 刺激;激励 freshmari / n. student in his first year at a college or university failnre / n. a person, attempt, or thing that fails; lack of success ivory / n. 象牙 ivory towsr/ n. place or condition of retreat from the world of action into a world of ideas and dueams象牙塔 self-reliance/ n. ability to do things and make decisions by oneself 依靠自己;自力更生 releance/ n. trust,confidence; dependence 信赖;信心; 依靠 technological/ a. of or related to technology 技术的 corporation/ n. (AmE)有限公司 ruri-dowrn / a. old and broken or in bad condition renovate / vt. restore (old buildings,oil paintings,etc.) to a former, better state 修复,修整 semester / n. (AmE) either of the two periods into which a school year is divided; term 学期 repay/ vt. psy back (money, etc.) loan / n. sth. lent, esp. a sum of money 借出的东西；贷款 distribute/ vt. divide among several or many; give or send out 分发 分送 distribution/ n. variety / n. difference in quality,type or character; a num-ber of or a collection of different things 变化，多样化；种种 challeng / n. the quality of demanding competitive action, in- terest, or thought 挑战 doctoral/ a. having to do with the university degree of doctor 博士的 energetic / a. vigorous 精力充沛的 dissertation / n. (学位)论文 poet / n. one who writes poetry learned / a. showing or requiring much knowledge 博学的 journal / n. magazine or daily newspaper 杂志;日报 occasional /a. happening from time to time,not regular 偶尔的,间或的 nudge / n. (fig.) words, actions or feelings that stimulate 启示 vt. push or touch slightly, esp. with the elbow to attract attention; (fig.) stimulate fellowship / n. position or a sum of money granted to a person for advanced study or research 研究员职位;研究员薪金 switch / vt. change or shift; turn urban / a. of a town or city civil rights/ n. the rights of a citizen without regard to his race, religion, sex, etc. 公民权 lawyer / n. person who practises law 律师 intuition / n. (power of) the immediate understanding of truths, events, facts without reasoning 直觉 analysis / n. the separation of a substance into parts for care- ful examination and study 分析 creation/ n. act of creating; sth. created 创造(物) clay / n. 粘土 point/ n. main idea or purpose 要点;意义,目的 pathway/ n. path rare/ a. unusually good; distinctive 稀有的; 杰出的 magie / n. mysterious charm; strange influence or power; art of obtaining mysterious results by tricks 魔力;魔术
Phrases & Expressions stay up not go to bed until af ter the usual time 不睡觉,熬夜 take notes 记笔记 build on base on; use as a base for further development keep a diary 记日记 leave out fail to mention or include; omit send off post; dispatch work at/on give one's attention to doing or trying to do catch one's breath rest and get back one's normal breath, as after run- ning; stop breathing for a moment from surprise, fear, shock, etc.
Emerson 爱默生(姓氏及男子名) Thoreau 梭洛(姓氏) Huxley 赫胥黎(姓氏) Vicky 维基(女子名,Victoria的昵称) Harvard 哈佛(美国大学名) Jeanne 珍妮(女子名) Jacqui 杰基(女子名,Jacqueline的昵称)