Teaching Sciences to the Exclusion of the Arts

To emphasize the sciences and neglect the arts is like emphasizing the sterility of a delivery room while ignoring the miracle of birth that happens there.

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One reason why I am changing careers

I am changing careers.  After 25 years as a technologist, I am going into instruction and training.  I resigned my position as a business analyst in early August and stepped out in faith.  Originally, it was because my former employer could not place me in a business analyst position.  As I began to look for business analyst positions, I found that the fact I had been working in a different aspect of Information Technology for over one year severely impacted my ability to get a business or systems analyst position.  Instead of lamenting that, I have chosen to make a change.  Those who know me know that my passion is for education, particularly adult education.  I am devoting myself to changing to a career that involves instruction, training, and instructional design.

I have an application for a full time instructor position at a college that offers online instruction.  In a discussion with the recruiter for that position, I explained that one of my burdens for going into education is the plight of the combat veteran, who after leaving the service, finds that combat skills are not highly prized in the civilian workforce.  I wrote the following to her:

Sadly, the greatest danger to combat veterans these days is not the battlefield; it is coming home.  By Labor Day, more veterans will have killed themselves in 2013 than died in the entire Iraqi conflict.  When I was in seminary, I volunteered to serve in the first conflict as a chaplain.  The law does not allow seminarians to deploy overseas, but I was allowed to serve as a chaplain at Ft. Hood as part of the recovery effort in 1991.  I was on the ground for 18 hours when I was called to the Psychiatric ward of Darnell Army Medical Center.  One of our soldiers tried to kill himself by taking 400 Tylenol because he couldn’t cope with life after war.  One in four homeless people are veterans.  Remote education is a weapon to combat those problems.  Veterans can start to learn before they leave the service.  Veterans that have returned but are facing unemployment or underemployment can go to school after business hours.  Not having a meaningful job can lead to despondency.  Despondency is dispelled by hope.  Hope comes from a knowledge that something better is possible.  Career-focused education can provide hope.

There are three types of occupations: jobs, professions, and callings.  A job is something you take to put food on the table, regardless of what the duties are or if there is room for advancement.  You have obligations and are committed to meeting them.  Having a job is a fine and noble thing.  A profession is an occupation that your are committed to for the long haul.  You work extra hours, go to school for it, attend seminars and workshops to improve your skills, and take risks to demonstrate just how good you are.  Professions are also fine and noble.  A calling is a profession that is so all-encompassing that you cannot be satisfied with anything else.  A calling drives you to sacrifice.  A calling keeps you up at night and makes you excited for the next opportunity to operate within it.  My calling is in education.

I have made many applications and have some solid leads, but as with any career change, especially when you are older, finding positions is challenging.  If you know of an opportunity, please let me know or pass along my résumé (the link is below).

Andrew Knaster – Resume

My First Teaching Job

I just secured my first online teaching job. I’m partnering with TutorUniverse (http:/www.tutoruniverse.com) to provide tutoring at primary, secondary, college, and adult education levels. The areas I’m providing service in are a broad spectrum of disciplines to include information technology, writing, academic paper preparation, Bible, and Theology. TutorUniverse’s interactive virtual classroom is state of the art. The fee is hourly and the prices are very reasonable. Once you sign up, you can specify me by searching for my full name.

tutoruniverse2

These are the specific areas I am working in:

Academic Writing, Agile Methodology, APA formatting, Bible, Blogging, Business Analysis, Computer Applications – Microsoft Access, Computer Applications – Microsoft Excel, Computer Applications – Microsoft Word, Database, English Composition and Academic Writing Skills, Information Systems, Introduction To Computer Science, Proofreading, Rational Quality Manager, Rational Requirements Composer, SDLC, Software Quality Assurance, Systems Analysis, Theology, Visual Basic for Applications

This approach to teaching is in concert with my post-grad research in Competency-Based Training.  Instead of conducting time-boxed classes where the goal is to finish and get a grade, I’ll be working one-on-one with distance learners that desire to develop competency in areas where they are lacking.  We will be done when they have developed the competency needed to do their jobs or succeed in school.  I am looking forward to working with a broad spectrum of students including home-schoolers.

The Conundrum of Teaching

Good teaching always results in two things for the student, increased knowledge of the subject matter accompanied by a proportional knowledge of the degree of the student’s ignorance thereof.  This is essential to lifelong learning because while the first produces the second, it is the second that motivates the first.

Reduced to a teachable form

Aristotle’s Ethics begins with the following,

Every art, and every science reduced to a teachable form, and in like manner every action and moral choice, aims, it is thought, at some good: for which reason a common and by no means a bad description of the Chief Good is, “that which all things aim at.”

My first thought was why is the clause “reduced to a teachable form” even necessary? Every art and science should be reduced to a teachable form. Of what value is art or science if it is not taught? A teacher’s raison d’être is to confer knowledge and understanding. A teacher’s job is never done as long as ignorance and misunderstanding exist. Today’s teachers worry about getting tenure for security. A teacher’s security should be based on how well that teacher eliminates ignorance and corrects misunderstanding.