Teachers can’t teach everything

Some months ago a friend introduced me to her friend who also happens to be an educator.  Admittedly, I have very poor social skills and it would take a lot of effort from me to initiate and sustain a meaningful conversation. Good thing the person introduced to me was naturally articulate. Quite an irony for the educator in me. Consider me then as the rare exemption. Although I talk a lot in my part time profession, I’m not a good material for socialization.

I thought I was discovering a great acquaintance not until he uttered something that somehow demeaned and disrespected my field of discipline. He asked what subjects I handle in my years of teaching. Having been a major in Economics, I told him I handle Basic Economics and Research Writing related subjects. I even lamented that educators within my field are starting to get extinct at least in our college. There’s only a few of us left handling the subjects, added to it the fact that enrolment in our discipline is decreasing. He later expressed a self-proclaimed conclusion that even majors of other business studies such as Marketing and Finance are capable of teaching Economics. Hence, the need to have Economics majors to teach the subject is no longer needed.

If you quite know me, you can easily guessed what happened next.

I initiated an intellectual debate that turned to a drama series catfight.

Of course not, LOL. I faked a smile, turned quiet and left the conversation.

I allowed my composure to prevail and avoided an instant debate. Under the rule of etiquette, I might have acted right. However, under the unwritten rules of my field of discipline, I’m definitely a disgrace. I failed to uplift my specialisation. I disappointed Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and my other great grandfathers in the profession.

If I were PMSing or blessed with more debate hormones, I would have ditched out his lame conclusion by saying that I can also teach Accounting. Yeah right, I cursed to never study that subject again. But my general understanding is enough to transfer information and education to the non-business majors. I can teach Basic Accounting to the non-Accounting majors. In like manner, I can also teach Marketing and Finance because God knows I have been learning the two subjects from the books and in practice… my everyday life. Evidence? Read my New Journey Series. And I’m 100% sure that an Accountant or an Accounting major will equally feel insulted when an Economics major is given the license to teach even Basic Accounting.

Maybe an Accounting major like him is equipped with basic information on Economics. I don’t doubt his capacity to teach. Given him the reference materials and stocked knowledge from his college Economics, he can no doubt teach the subject. I however like to provide another approach to prove my point.

Consider a car being sold by two seasoned salesmen. Salesman X started his career in selling cards across brands and distributors. There’s also Salesman Y who shared the same years of experience with Salesman X. Salesman Y however is engaged in selling cosmetics and other beauty related products. Who can better sell the car?

Salesman Y can sell the car because he has the selling skills. He knows the approach in selling. He knows the general behaviour of the customers. He can sell because he knows the process of selling.

Salesman X can obviously sell because of his skills and experiences. However, what gives Salesman X the exclusive right in selling cars is the KNOWLEDGE about cars. More than the process of selling, Salesman X truly knows what he is selling. He knows the core information of what he is doing.  Something that Salesman Y does not possess.

In like manner, Salesman X may have the skills in selling. But give him the responsibility to sell cosmetics and other beauty products, Salesman X’s reputation in selling will surely be ruined. Salesman X can sell, but he cannot sell what he has not been selling.

Fine, I overreacted and made a fuss from something that should have been ignored. I will end my point with this simple statement that should have been my saving grace.

All teachers can teach, but they cannot teach everything.

Advertisements

One thought on “Teachers can’t teach everything

  1. Perhaps your friend lacks a healthy respect for the ideal situation – where those who teach only teach what they know really well. It’s easy to pretend you know something you don’t if you are a glib speaker; like Salesman Y in your example. But to teach something really well can only come from teaching what is in one’s skills set, no less.

    Perhaps in time you will not feel like an embarrassment or guilty before the likes of Keynes. That you realize what you should have done is a step in the right direction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s