One of the most common comments I get about my teaching style is “I love that you enjoy math.” While that is true, the real truth is this: I love teaching.
I love showing the underlying reasons for a method.
I love finding entertaining and engaging ways to change people’s minds.
I love watching people grow, however reluctantly or enthusiastically.
The thing that I see people crave the most is enthusiasm. A great deal of teaching in my opinion is entertainment. People can’t learn if they are feeling completely bored out of their skull… so keeping them engaged makes it fun. And in order to entertain, I think you need to enjoy the subject matter, and you need to enjoy talking about it.
Ultimately, I love math, but people are a bigger puzzle. Sometimes the secrets to unlocking their understanding are straightforward, and sometimes not. Every single person I teach has their own story, methods that work better or worse for them, and something that drives them to learn. For some the study is it’s own reward and others have something else that drives them. Hopefully, we can get them to the (agreed upon) points of understanding in the short time I have with each of them.
I love watching them struggle and strive. This is why I teach. Watching each person triumph and overcome in their own minor or major ways… of working on that fantastic puzzle of humanity. And hopefully both of us become a better person myself along the way.
For someone as generally misanthropic, pessimistic, and sarcastic as I am, I *love* getting through a term with my students. It is bright, and painful, and beautiful to see. Whether it is someone who gets fractions for the first time, or someone who passes a test they never thought they could.
Now get off your asses and tackle your dreams already.