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Teaching Is a Privilege, Not a Burden

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I’ve coached biddy league basketball, little league baseball and high school football. Through mentoring I’ve helped a child from a poverty-stricken neighborhood gain admission into an elite prep school with full scholarship. Through counseling I’ve helped many students gain admission into some of the top universities in the world. But I have never formally taught before, until today. And I did so without the support of a teachers union, without tenure, without a master’s in education, and without a teaching certificate. To my knowledge, none of my students are now on skid row.

This year I am teaching math and history to 11-14 year olds at a new alternative school tailored toward homeschoolers. This school is not trying to imitate various public or private schools, it is trying to provide students with a learning experience that brings out their strengths and focuses on high level academic achievement in a uniquely individualized way. Unlike virtually every other school that I’ve ever attended, volunteered at or observed, the focus of the teachers at this new school is not classroom management, but individual excellence as determined by the students (with guidance from the teachers). This is that unique place where a teacher serves as a mentor and a coach more so than an iron-fisted dictator to be parroted or feared.

Today I focused on history, without a standard history textbook to lean on. Because I am not bound by arbitrary demands from the state, I feel no need to perpetuate the lies that teachers are expected to tell their students about history, nor do I feel the need to cover over 500 years and numerous historical milestones in the short span of 12 weeks. Instead I am going to go into much greater detail about issues covering a much shorter timeframe. I will explore with my students not only the false narrative on American history, but the motivations behind the half truths and lies, as well as some of the warts of our history that makes it interesting and relevant to my students today. I’m going to try to instill in my students a desire to seek out the truth on their own, as opposed to blindly accepting what others tell them. I will try to provide my students with the type of learning experience that they would get out of a homeschooling environment – one that is tailored to their interests and needs, and one that is not subject to political correctness or unnecessary jingoism.

The preparation for the class was time consuming; not having a pre-packaged lesson plan required considerable work on my part. I was unsure if my unorthodox approach would appeal to the children, and I was worried that perhaps my hard work would miss the mark and my students would get bored and see this as just another grownup trying to shove facts down their throats. But my hard work was overshadowed by the joy of helping provide my students with an educational experience that I believe will be unmatched virtually anywhere other than homeschooling environments. I am focused on helping these children succeed as opposed to my own job security or pension benefits. I don’t see teaching as a burden as politicians and the teachers union tries to make us believe, I see it as a privilege. Like their parents, I don’t assume that the potential of my students is limited by a false understanding of their intelligences or by where they started off in life. If only I had 18 years to develop that potential – like every homechool parent does …

 

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5 Responses to " Teaching Is a Privilege, Not a Burden "

  1. Sean says:

    Hi Antonio,

    I inquired about your services in February for my grandchildren. My wife is a former teacher but we would like to homeschool. I like homeschooling despite the wonderful teachers in govt schools ive had and observed. My problems with govt schools have little do with the teachers. Never have I met a teacher who used a “prepackaged” lesson plan, or who didnt do it for the love of teaching or who didnt work hard to prepare for class. You should learn some humility before you espouse your exceptional qualities as a teacher after just one day on the job.

    Sean

    • Antonio Buehler says:

      Sean, saying you’ve never met a teacher who used a prepackaged lesson plan, who didn’t do it for the love of teaching or who didn’t work hard to prepare for class leads me to believe that you never stepped inside a public school or you believe in unicorns. Your reading comprehension also seems to be lacking as I was hardly espousing my exceptional qualities as a teacher – I said I cannot provide an educational experience as good as that of homeschooling – meaning there are about 2/3rds of a million people in this country that are better than me.

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