Unexpected Forays Into Teaching

Unexpected Forays Into Teaching

I want to be a ballet teacher when I’m older. I’ve said that for quite a while now.

In September I was recording a music video with a friend who was training to be a teacher and discussing with them another friend, who helps teach poor children and start preschools and stuff, and he was telling me about another friend, who is also training to be a teacher. And I said, “Why is everyone I meet a teacher these days?” 

His response, which I’d forgotten until recently, was, “Maybe it’s a sign that you should think about teaching.”

Of course, I didn’t listen to him, although I still had my desire to teach dance. I couldn’t stand having to give homework, grade exams, and tell parents that their kid was an idiot (or teach the idiots in the first place). Note, when I say they’re idiots, I don’t mean people who aren’t particularly intelligent. They can’t help that. I mean people who don’t have the good common sense to see that aggravating everybody else in the class isn’t funny. You know the ones. The ones you think, “If [name] would just shut up, I would learn so much more in this lesson.”

But recently, the idea of me being a teacher has been on my mind.

When it’s coming up to the exam season at school, you’re usually given two pieces of paper, or booklets. The first is an exam timetable with all the rules about pen colour and mobile phones that nobody ever reads, because they tell you it all as soon as you walk in anyway and we’ve got it word-for-word by now. The other is a ‘HELPING YOU REVISE’ book that I have never, ever had experience of somebody actually using.

There’s the old mind mapping thing. I mean, really? Not everyone can learn through mind-maps. I have a friend who does. Since early February she’s been working on her notes for the English exam (mid-late May), drawing a mind-map for each character, and then one for each theme throughout the book, and then sticking them on her wall so that she sees them and remembers the things. She uses bright colours and pretty designs and reads everything through.

I don’t learn like that. I learn by writing notes. History is the subject for which I’ve done the most revision in the past, because it needs it, more than the others do. Except perhaps the sciences…there’s possibly a reason I haven’t got very good grades in those. My history notes are rewrites of everything I’ve got in my exercise book, but in coloured pens and language I can understand and wouldn’t mind reading again. I quote Queen, sometimes. (“And then Hitler was like, well, I want it all and I want it now. So there.”)

Stuff like COMMUNISTS = CONTROL FREAKS or whatever. No offence to any Communists out there, we’re talking Stalinist Russia here.

One piece of advice that’s always in those booklets is Pair up with a friend! Teach each other parts of the course – this will help you to remember them as well as help them. You can also try working together on new revision techniques.

Genuine scene from an episode of DW.
Image from Tumblr :)

That’s never worked for me, because put me with a friend and immediately the procrastination levels multiply by about two hundred. Instead of, “Let’s work together on some Physics!” it’s, “Let’s watch Doctor Who! I mean, that’s practically science any way.”

(Seriously, it makes you more intelligent. Sort of. I now know, for example, that the Union Jack is only called the Union Jack when it’s flown at sea – on land, it’s the Union Flag.)

And since the main subject I work for is History, because it needs it, and all of my friends who took History live at the far end of the bus route – it would take me at least an hour to get to them if there was no traffic – it doesn’t see worth the journey.

Nevertheless, I was pretty sure that teaching people would help me to learn things. And then I had an idea.

Why should I teach somebody face-to-face? If they forget it, and have no notes, then I’ve been no better than an ordinary teacher. But, if I were to teach them via a video, they could rewind it, pause it, etc. And when it comes close to the exam dates (mid June, for History), they can call up the subject playlist on YouTube and watch it all again.

I don’t have to teach just my friends. I can teach YouTube.

And I'm not the only one. I'm just (probably) one of the youngest.

And that’s what I proceeded to do, on Monday. When I started, I didn’t know the Fourteen Points on which the armistice was based – hadn’t a clue. Now, I know all of them. When I started the video on the disagreements between the Big Three, I could vaguely remember what their positions were and who was harsh etc, but I couldn’t remember the little details. And the Treaty of Versailles? Well… there was something about reparations in there, wasn’t there?

From now on I’ll be making a History revision video every Tuesday and Saturday, barring a disaster or illness or something. It’s increased the number of people who come up to me in lessons and say, “I saw your YouTube video!” (which always creepy me out), but several have mentioned how helpful they found it, and how they think it’s a really good way of revising.

After all, watching a YouTube video isn’t exactly a taxing form of revision, is it?

I’m learning by doing it – learning to present facts in an interesting way, and also learning the facts themselves. After all, recording it three times to get it right and then spending an hour editing yourself saying it is probably a very effective way of memorising the Fourteen Points!Even if no one else finds it helpful, I’ve found a way of revision that works for me. But from the feedback I’ve had so far, they are finding it helpful. It looks like I’m a teacher after all.

(As usual, all images were found using Google Image search. I apologise for not crediting owners directly, but I’m pushed for time… sorry!)

5 thoughts on “Unexpected Forays Into Teaching

  1. *clap clap clap*
    I didn’t watch the video (being at work and all), but you found out what I loved about being a tutor in college. And then you explained it all so well. *giggles*

    I might have to watch some of your history lessons, since it’d be interesting to see Histroy from the Brittish view point.

    Oh and Hitler and Wholawski have a lot in common, so let me know when you do a video about him. *snickers*

    :} Cathryn

  2. Ah, GCSE history. I got an A in that – much to my irrtation, I wanted the A*! Good on you for talking it out like that – I’m a mind-map AND discussion person myself, which is bizarre, but it seems to work for me. Good on you for getting stuck in as well! May Youtube appreciate it greatly :)

    1. I hope they will. Each video takes at least an hour to make because of all the editing that has to go into it – yesterday’s took probably more!

      I’m not a mind map person simply because I get bored drawing lines and end up turning them into enormous spiders wearing roller skates, and spend so long doing that that by the time I remember what I was supposed to be doing, I’ve run out of time to do anything.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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