Teachers are Made Not Born

An evaluation of the History and Philosophy of Education course by GSE student, Kerry McCabe.

February 10, 2014

For the last entry in her journal for the EdSE 600 course, History and Philosophy of Education, taught by Adjunct Associate Professor Miriam Eckstein-Koas, Kerry McCabe evaluated the class.

On the first day of class posters were hung around the classroom. Each individual poster had a famous philosophers name on it; Rousseau, Montessori, Al-Ghazali, Froebel, Aristotle, Confucius, and more. We were assigned the task of writing down onto the chart, any facts that we knew about that philosopher. As I walked around the room I was overwhelmed by how many philosophers there were and the fact that I knew nothing about any of them. The only philosopher I was familiar with was Montessori. I had heard about the schools that she had created but not much else.  After twelve classes I feel as though if I were to retry the exercise that was performed on the first day I would be able to write lists of facts for each of the philosophers. In what seemed like a short period of time I learned so much.

Usually when people see the words History and Philosophy of Education they immediately think “boring!” I was one of those people. After signing up for the class I kept asking myself “what does this class have to do with teaching?  Why do I have to take this boring course?” I did not realize how much I would take with me from this class from learning all the philosophers’ philosophies on education. I now see how much of their philosophies and ideas are still present in schools today. Even though these philosophers developed their theories years upon years ago, their ideas fit perfectly into how schools are run. But this class was different from many other classes that I have taken. It wasn’t strictly a lecture class. The students including me had a voice. We were able to share and debate with one another. I learned so much through that style of teaching. Many times my classmates opened my eyes to new ways of seeing things. Especially when we discussed Montessori and inclusion classes, I believed my opinion was the right one, but as I heard their presentations I started to rethink my own beliefs.

My favorite topic that was discussed in the class was teachers are made not born. Although it was the topic that I did my presentation on, it made me realize what the job of the teacher really is. Many people think that teaching is “easy” or that teachers are just “babysitters.” I used to think as I was growing up that “of course teachers are born!” How could someone not be born to be a teacher? You have to like children and have that certain personality. But after reading the articles about what it takes to be a great teacher, I saw that great teachers didn’t only have just a great personality. Teaching is more than that. There is a whole process teachers must go through in order to be fully successful in the classroom. The teacher has to think about who his or her students are and how they learn best. One size does not fit all.

At the end of the semester I reflect back on everything that I have learned and taken from this class. The material at times was difficult to understand and I would get frustrated writing the reflection papers. Yet through all the stress and frustration I am walking away with so much. This classroom became a second family for me. We all bonded and worked as one to complete assignments and tasks in the classroom. I will truly miss showing up on Thursday nights and having the enthralling conversations with everyone. Thank you Professor for a wonderful semester! You are a great teacher!