[IAEP] NN, Mitra, and the role of the teacher

Kevin Cole kjcole at dc.sugarlabs.org
Tue Oct 26 16:23:30 EDT 2010

While it's true that I was (and still am) somewhat self-motivated when
it came to computers, I'd have to say that for me, personally, it was
the teachers who either through direct instruction, or through my
observation and emulation of them, taught me a sort of "zen" of
programming, for lack of a better word.  (Watching "Fearless Freddy"
debug students code was a thing of beauty to behold.)

And my interest, albeit amateur, in physics was definitely due to the
patience that "Bob the Dope Fiend" had for working with me. I think
the dope must have kept him mellow. ;-) (I always compare my epiphany
regarding simple Newtonian motion as being akin to Hellen Keller's
experience with "Water". "Bob, Bob! Oh, my God! You've been spelling
Newtonian Motion into my hands for a month! I FINALLY GET IT!!! Now
catch me up with the rest of the class on everything else!" I
monopolized that dude's office hours.)

My teachers also gave me an interest in tutoring others.  The sense of
pride and/or relief that students get when a teacher praises their
accomplishments -- particularly after helping them overcome early
difficulties with a subject matter -- is irreplaceable at any age.

There were definitely "losers" as teachers too, where it almost seemed
they actively worked against learning.  But those are the ones that
become distant memories (traumatic amnesia?) very quickly.  The others
burn brightly in my memory like Jedi Knights.
Kevin Cole
Sugar Labs DC
Washington, DC

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