Bildung 5

There were 3 professors at Kharkov State University who influenced me, all women. One was a seasoned old professor of pedagogy whose name I unfortunately don’t remember. We had to take 5 years of Methodology of Teaching courses, and I hated them all.

Once we had to do a teaching demonstration in class.

“Who’s a teacher in your family?” the professor asked once I was done with my demonstration.

“Everybody,” I said.

“Figures,” the professor responded. “What you do can’t be learned. It has to be passed down on the level of genetics.”

I couldn’t care less since I wasn’t planning to dedicate my life to teaching. When it was time to take the final exam, I forgot all about it and only remembered 3 days after the exam.

I showed up at the professor’s office and confessed to her that I’d forgotten about the exam.

“So what do you want?” she asked. “Do you want to take the exam now?”

“No,” I said. “I didn’t prepare.”

“What then?”

“I want you to give me a grade,” I explained.

The professor looked at me with her tired eyes.

“Will a B work?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “I want an A.”

“I remember you,” the professor told me. “You are a teacher.”

“No, I’m not,” I said with indignation. “I will never be a teacher. Teachers don’t make any money.”

“You can’t escape from this,” the prof said. “Teaching is who you are. No matter how hard you resist, you will find yourself drawn into the classroom. Give me your grade book, I’ll give you an A.”

“What a silly old fool,” I thought, leaving the prof’s office and not even having the slightest suspicion that not only will I become drawn to the classroom, just as she predicted, but that her lectures, which I did my hardest not to hear, would inform everything I will do in the classroom years later.

One thought on “Bildung 5

  1. What exactly was your degree, and why did you have to take five years of teaching methodology? Did every degree require this? If you weren’t planning on becoming a teacher, what were your plans?


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