The “I” and the “You” of It All

Somewhere in my teaching career, now 35 years of it, “I” and “You” as grammatical subjects disappeared from my classroom vocabulary.  For instance, “I” don’t need you (the student) to understand this particular concept. “You” (the student) (in my opinion) don’t need to do the homework.  The dialogue, implicit and explicit, goes as follows. Understanding this particular concept is included in the required learning for this class and doing the homework, taking, transcribing, and rereading your notes will help you (grammatical object) learn the concept.  I don’t need your written work on Monday but the written work is due on Monday.  Nothing personal about this.  It’s the system used in this class which to be honest I designed and believe in.  Follow the system and the material will be yours.”We” are in this together.  I as your experienced guide and you as a learner. The question is how can we work together to increase your learning success in this class.

Removing the “I” and the “You” of it makes the inevitable (hopefully small) failures of both teacher and student less personal.  It places the student and teacher together in a system, “The System”, if you like, attempting to do our jobs, fulfilling our roles, changing our brains – both of us.


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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