Chapter Seven: Teachers, Students, and Teaching
As should be evident by now, teaching is a very difficult undertaking. There are many factors at work, some conducive to learning, others not. Teachers will inevitably encounter difficulties and dilemmas that they do not know how to handle. Although experienced teachers develop strategies for dealing with certain types of problems, even the most skilled teachers frequently encounter new situations that require them to rethink what they should do. The issues raised in this chapter, including grouping, motivation, classroom control, evaluation, and special education, are among the most important of these.
The challenge confronting every teacher is to remain open to new possibilities and to improve one’s skills constantly. It may sometimes be frustrating to realize that there is no recipe for teaching, and that the teacher, working with others who have related expertise, has to figure out anew, over and over again, what to do in a given situation. On the other hand, as we said earlier in the chapter with reference to differences among students, variety is also a powerful stimulus and source of interest in our lives and our work. As we shall see in the next chapter, many schools are making important efforts to change teaching and learning. Despite the difficulties, few teachers would want to trade their jobs for ones that are utterly predictable and therefore monotonous. As teachers, we have the requirement—and the opportunity also—to be learners all the time, discovering more about students, curricula, and education as we go. That is no small gift.