Thursday, May 23, 2013
Gary Gutting has an interesting perspective on teaching in an article in the New York Times. He writes, "It may be, of course, that many employers do not really want critical and creative employees. Even so, engagement with intellectual culture is a source of immense satisfaction for many people in their personal lives. A democratic distaste of elitism leads many people to regard such engagement as merely the peculiar preference of some individuals. But everyone who has a capacity for enjoying intellectual culture should at least have the opportunity to do so. (This is the lesson of the play and film, “Educating Rita.”) I’ve come to see college teaching as providing not knowledge but activities that open the door to this enjoyment."
A part of me agrees with Professor Gutting, but I think the joy of teaching is much more than this. The biggest joy in teaching is seeing your students accomplish something, such as being able to write a competent essay or brief. It is the email you receive when the student tells you that she just got a job. It is seeing your students graduate from law school.