Saturday, May 06, 2006

How Smart Do You Have to Be?

Mr. Lawrence asked if I thought people with doctorates might be mentally "above" the students. I think there are people who feel that way, but I can't blame it on their doctorates. If you think you're "above" kids, you shouldn't be teaching them.

One of my very brightest students, one of the brightest kids I've ever met, said something about me being smarter than her a few weeks ago. I asked her why she thought that, and she said it was because I was the teacher.

I told her I didn't need to be smarter than her. I just needed to know my subject better than she did (I'm grateful for that). Granted, she's from Korea, where television, apparently, has thus far failed to convince all teenagers they're already smarter than their teachers (and parents).

Can you imagine what life would be like if you had to be smarter than every kid you ever taught? What are the chances you'd succeed, even with a doctorate? As Jerry Seinfeld says, "They're here to replace us."

Now, are any of my students as unscrupulous, manipulative and devious as I am? Perhaps. But they're few and far between. I'm a firm believer in the adage "Old age and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm every time."

As for Mr. Lawrence, he's very smart, and very funny too. That's why I always read his blog. But I'll bet dimes to dollars he communicates well with kids, and even likes doing so most of the time. People who are "above" communicating with kids, mentally or otherwise, not only shouldn't teach, they shouldn't have kids of their own either.
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