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The Joy of Teaching

Sometimes I tutor on the side for a little extra cash. Tonight, I was helping the third and last child in a family with her high school chemistry. It is times like tonight that refresh my enthusiasm for teaching. She commented near the end that when the teacher was covering the subject, she just sat there with no clue what was happening, but now she understood. That is a good feeling.

Does she have a bad teacher? I don’t know—there’s no way to tell based on that. It helps to have the individual attention that a private tutor offers. Also, often we need to hear things several times before they sink in and make sense. A postdoc in my advisor’s research group told me when I joined to do my thesis research, “Quantum chemistry takes about 10 years to understand, and then it just ‘clicks.’”

This need for repetition is why God instituted the Passover and other festivals, communion and similar rituals. We need to remember what God has done for us and we forget, so we need to have reminders.

The disappointing thing for me is that I’m very patient being the second person to explain something the first time (as in the case of my tutoree), but tend to be less so the more I have to explain it over and over again to the same person or class. It is simply because >I< forget that people forget.

Where is the ritual to remember that? Oh, yeah—every time I need to repeat myself. I guess I’d better find a better way.

We humans are strange creatures!


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