You Don’t Need to Be a Teacher to Teach

Image result for images of father tutoring boy

In any discussion of homeschooling, an objection that always comes up is, “But I’m not a teacher! How can I teach, if I’m not a professional, trained teacher?”

Oh, come on.

When I was a kid in grade school, I just couldn’t seem to learn how to add a column of figures. The whole idea of carrying a number–like, for instance, the “1” in “13”–over to the top of the next line of digits to the left, totally eluded me. And the teacher just couldn’t put it right, no matter how many times she tried.

So one night my father–not a teacher, but an assembly line worker at the Ford plant–sat down with me and taught me how to do it. He only needed half an hour or so. He taught me, and from then on, I could do it with the best of them.

Common sense, patience, and love can’t be learned at any teachers’ college.

And don’t even get me started on the things they do learn at teachers’ college, nowadays.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

11 responses to “You Don’t Need to Be a Teacher to Teach

  • Erlene Talbott

    What your father did for you, my husband did for our older son. I helped the younger one with many things he wasn’t being taught in school, and both of our sons have far more education than most of their peers.

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  • thewhiterabbit2016

    If the child’s parents are highly educated they have a big advantage in being home-schooled over children whose parents are not highly educated (I don’t necessarily mean a college education). But what is really great about home-schooling is how much the parents learn in the process – all of a sudden they have to review their arithmetic skills, their knowledge of history, etc. And best of all, the parent and the children can come and go as they please as they visit libraries, museums, and historic sites whenever they want and learn, learn, learn – and its fun.

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  • Elijah Holston

    So true, I heard somewhere that most teachers have to reveiw what they teach the week before because they forgot everything they were tought, so most teachers are really just learning along with their pupils.

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  • Elijah Holston

    I meant “taught” not “tought”

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  • Unknowable

    Much of what I learned, I learned from parents that had my best interests at heart. Some school teachers are dedicated people, but not all are good teachers. I’ve met teachers who were impatient and ill tempered. Several in my school years were people that had no business whatsoever trying to teach children because of personality traits which were incompatible with effective teaching.

    In fairness, I had a number of fine teachers as well, many of whom were excellent examples of their profession and had every reason to be proud of their accomplishments. However, even the best teachers are only able to interact with students for a limited amount of time and they can’t even begin to care as much as a parent would care.

    I’m not impressed with the public school system and feel that home-schooling is a far better solution. I’ve never taught in public schools, with the exception of some adult-education classes. I’ve taught some private music lessons and I’ve taught computer networking to several people. In the cases of my teaching, all of these involved specialized knowledge which not every parent may be able to provide.

    But this is a far cry from locking a child in a room with 20-30 other children and one teacher for 6-8 hours per day. If nothing else, such education is not compulsory. No student I have ever taught was there because they were forced to be there. None were expected to learn any faster or slower than they wanted to learn and all were encouraged to learn on their own, as well as learn from me.

    I see this as the best way to go. I strongly believe that parents should participate in their children’s basic education. As children branch into new interests, I can see reasons to use outside sources, at least in some cases, but not to the exclusion of the parents and only as a cooperative part of the overall package and only with the participation of the parents.

    One last thought is that teaching is, in itself, a wonderful learning opportunity. When I taught music students, I went over basic materials many, many times and it was good for me. It solidified skills I had learned years before and kept me sharp. If parents would put earnest effort into home-schooling, perhaps in conjunction with other family members, I think they might come to realize that they actually have a great deal to offer as teachers. I probably gave my first music lesson within a few months of taking my first music leasson. Teaching is a great learning experience.

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    • Joshua M. Swanson

      Well said, Unknowable! I have been blessed by having been home-schooled by my parents, to whom I owe my gratitude and respect.
      I am an English teacher and assistant in my dad’s English school in Japan, so I know what it is like to teach. Yes, teaching is definitely a great learning experience, and I enjoy it! (My brother is being home-schooled and is also an assistant).

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  • weavingword

    There are definitely things I cannot teach my girls. Higher math sends me into a panic (something I’d like to NOT pass on.) I really don’t have the aptitude to help them. But not all homeschooling requires the parent to be the teacher. My daughters are enrolled in Liberty University Online Academy so they have teachers to help, and a curiculum I didn’t have to build or get approved at the whim of the local school district. We get to enjoy Christian based homeschooling while avoiding the “homeschool” pitfalls. We still help/guide as needed, of course. But when we’re out of our league, we have help.

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    • leeduigon

      Thanks, Weavingword. Yes, there’s all sorts of online curriculum help for homeschooling families; the technological support for homeschooling just keeps growing.

      **AND** I’ve ordered your new book, now awaiting delivery.

      Like

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