Ron's Teaching Philosophy

In a prior post in this section I talked mainly about how I got into online teaching and the schools I have encountered.  Let’s explore here a bit more of the why of whole thing.

I got into the academic rather than the clinical world way back when because I had always observed that my professors did not have bad lives.  Teach a few courses, publish a thing or two, get tenure, and coast.  It looked good to me.

Some speak of a passion for teaching.  I never got in the right line when they passed that passion out.  I always saw myself, and still do, as a professional who trades a service for a paycheck. Academics, from way back when I was a college student, seemed like the best combination of nice lifestyle with adequate income.  

Does this attitude preclude doing an effective job?  I certainly don’t believe it does.  I got promoted to the top during my full time career, and have been with most of my online schools for 6-7 years.  Someone approves. 

So I teach online in retirement for the money.  Per course it is not much, but over time it has added up.  Does being in it for the money do any social good?   Although I do not believe I was put on the planet  to do good for anyone other than self and spouse, I will suggest here that some briader benefits accrue.

First, I pay income taxes—something around half of Americans do not.  And out of my checks come donations to Social Security and Medicare.   

Second, teaching money allows us to employ a lot of people to do things to help us.  Those include the mowing guy, the bug guy, the lawn service guy and the house cleaners who come twice a month.  In addition, much of the money has gone to highly skilled people who have helped us update and upgrade our house.  A lot of good wages and a goodly amount of materials purchased with our dollars has helped us shape up the plumbing, heating/cooling, put on a new roof and put in new windows everywhere, to name a few examples.

Third, a sizable segment of our population has made early decisions that were ill-considered and put them behind the curve.  In my online classes I get that segment who want to catch up and improve their lives.  I salute that, and I feel I make my contribution by helping create some better taxpayers, as education helps these people move up in life.

Finally, we put some earnings into savings and we feel strongly that if at all possible, we want to pay our way as senior citizens, and not be dependent on public services.   We see old age as an expensive proposition, and we want to be ready financially.

And if I can help in these ways it’s a good day’s work done.  Some can choose passion, but I’m doing something to reduce income inequality and give people employment.  

Should you wonder, I have been an Existentialist fan since about age 14.  That view tells me that emotions cloud thinking.  It tells me that I make my world.  I do not have time for passion in teaching, nor am I into concepts like neighbors, public charities or community.  I am also a marked Introvert.  

And what can a dispassionate Introvert do to help this world?

I can work from home and make money that goes out in taxes, and wages.   I can help build some better taxpayers for the future, who will pay into and not just take from our welfare and entitlement programs.   If I can help a few student become productive citizens, that’s a contribution.

No, I’m not Mr. Chips.  Our Miss Brooks was way more dedicated.  Mr. Spock probably felt more passion than I can.
But I have a clear idea of what I am doing.  Ted Baxter reminded us that “them that can do, and them that can’t,….don’t”.     I do.   

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