Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quote: Buddhist Proverb - Student, Teacher

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." 
"When the disciple is ready, the master will appear."
Buddhist Proverb

As a teacher, I find this the hardest challenge. I've volunteered as a TA in college and as a coach a handful of times. I've had a couple students where they just do not care for the material. I mean to the point where not a single information even enters their mind. I have often questioned myself how to get it through.

On a macroscopic level, it is better to move on and spend my time with students that are ready. But on a microscopic level, what do I do if I "have" to. There are two main scenarios thus far that boggles me.

Once I had to teach a student who came to my office hour. So this student has already made up his mind to get assistance (or maybe to have me do his homework). After the first time (where I basically walked him to the answer after an hour when it should haven't taken 2 minutes), I made a separate set of questions when he came the second time. The assignment was to create an HTML webpage. The foundation was already there where you just save and the page will come up. The assignment was just to display a specific text, "Hello World" to the page. So I showed him how to display some other sentence, "This text appears here." He typed it in, and there it is on the screen. Then I told him to change the sentence to something else. Refreshed the page, and the new sentence is there. I then told him to put in a third sentence but without giving him the step-by-step instructions... and bewilderingly, he was not able to do it again. I even asked him to put in the original question (basically change it back to what he had before), and still a blank face. The instruction basically is to just replace sentence, save, and refresh. How does someone reach a senior undergraduate level and not be able to do that? Even without that level of education, how do I even break the process down so that it is understandable? I saved the multiple files and told him to take it home to review and review the book again (after 2 hours). He did come back a couple more times but I don't feel that I was very helpful even then.

More recently, I have a coworker (Coworker A) who I believe was hired through connections. He supposedly has over two decades of work experience. I was assigned to train him. I'm not sure how many times I had to repeat myself, resend the same emails with the details of what I just repeated, and he still claims to never have known, trained, or notified. I believe that I am a pretty decent trainer in that I've trained almost all my teammates across several jobs, typically the go-to person on how to do things or better processes, and assistance outside of work. Although I have many speculations on my he may be demotivated to do things professionally, I still patiently go through all the steps if I have time. I have even brought this up with my supervisor who does not seem to do much about it which she normally does. Sadly, this may have been the first time that some frustration may have come across where Coworker A became extremely defensive and said that I was attacking him. I really was just frustrated in that I do not know how to break down the material in such a way to get through to him.

I do not know why some people are this way because even for me when I do not care much for something, I still listen and information still enters my head. When I say do not care much, I really mean that there are certain information I care more for. Perhaps that is the difference in that there is little that I truly have no care for but I think that is more out of ignorance or taking something for granted. Once realized, I still make mental notes of it. So, I really believe that you must first be open to information otherwise, no teacher can assist you... although mentally, I still try to figure a way.