The Teacher Is In

Stealing an idea from the good doctor, I am soliciting any and all questions folks might have of a professional teacher here in the ranks.  I just wrapped up Back-to-School night, which always leaves me curious about the questions parents wanted to ask and didn’t for whatever reason, so I’ll satiate this clearly masochistic curiosity by answering YOUR questions, dear readers.  Submit a question in the comments below and I’ll tackle as many as I can in follow up posts.  Cheers!


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. Personality types and their effect upon learning.

    I’m pretty sure that everybody here is an INTP or an INTJ, for example. I know that I, in my own life, don’t interact with a whole lot of non-NT types. (IT. You know how it is.)

    Of course, if you don’t like Myers-Briggs (AND WHO DOES???), the personality archetype system that works best for you with regards to the kids that you teach.

    • Good, but tricky question. I’ll work something up. For the record, I just took an online version of the MB and I’m a ENTJ… whatever that means.

      • I went from an INFP to an ENTJ over 15 years.

        Although I wasn’t hard on any of the scales, except a bit above average on the N.

        I don’t test M-B well. I’m a weird dude.

    • I think that answer takes a class or two — as in ‘semester long’ to answer. I know my wife, the teacher, has a variety of methods for dealing with kids — it starts with the simple (auditory or visual learner) and moves onto personality type, motivational levers, interests….

      I don’t think you can really sum it up very well.

      As a sort of sideways answer, take writing (my wife’s particular speciality) — in terms of dealing with younger writers (say, late elementary and early junior high) the trick isn’t to make them write to prompts, so much as it is to get the kid to write about what he knows and likes, and then to work from there to get them to express their interests in good form.

      As she put it, there were kids who hated writing — until they realized (generally through her encouragement) that she was perfectly okay with them writing about baseball, or pokemon, or their favorite TV shows — as long as they were writing! (Practice is a key element of everything, and while it is critical for kids to do responsive writing — analyze this, write about that — they need actual skill and experience as a foundation. Getting them excited and eager to write is a challenge indeed).

      I’d imagine teaching different personality types is a more complex version of the same thing — find out (or know ahead of time) what approaches and methods speak to their personality, and convey the knowledge that way. It requires a flexible teacher, experience, and pyschological know-how….

      Which is why ‘subject experts’ make acceptable teachers in college (college students are adults who are, theoretically, capable of working around an expert such-and-such who couldn’t teach his way out of a paper bag) but merely being a subject expert is not sufficient for primary educators.

  2. Is propaganda ever just? (I suppose you might get into whether it is effective with children).
    Your perspective on this as a teacher will prove enlightening, I suspect…

    • Kimmi-

      Can you give a more concrete definition of what you mean by “propaganda”?

      • I kinda meant it to be broadbased…
        Any mass-produced medium that seeks to sway people to believe a certain something.

        Advertising, Civics Class, a class on morals, etc.

        Do some of these work better than others?

Comments are closed.