Tag Archives: Education

Educator vs Teacher

Is there a difference between an educator and a teacher?

I have long debated these terms and tried to determine if there is a real difference between them.

I do call myself an educator on my LinkedIn profile possibly because it sounds more dynamic and aliterate, but I seriously wondered about the difference for a long time.

I probably always will… even a little bit no matter where I go in life.

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Online Classes

How To take An Online Class

One of the most common lines I get from student emails is: “This is my first online class.”

Such a line is usually accompanied by an apology for an error or a misunderstanding.

I actually don’t mind these emails.

To me, it shows that the student is making some sort of effort either to correct something or to get in touch with me or something along those lines. It also shows the commonalities of students trying to figure out an online class. For many students, they are trying to figure out college life in general on top of this strange, new learning format.

I’ve noticed the top student confusions and I have come up with some tips to help with online learning.

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Another Way To Think About Art

We’ve all heard it: the arts improve test scores. The arts are good for us because they improve our soul and because of blah blah blah.

We’ve all heard the advocacy and I am starting to wonder if we are becoming numb to it.

While I still think that advocacy is important, I would like to take another look at this topic and discuss another reason why the arts are important, especially in schools.

The arts help to prevent crime.

I am not saying that the arts completely eliminate crime or that those involved in the arts will not commit a crime ever. I am saying that the arts help to prevent crime.

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Online Teaching and Learning

Online Pedagogy

One of my assignments as a TA is to teach online and in-classroom classes. My undergraduate degree in music education from Westminster College in PA prepared me impressively well to deal with the in-classroom model. While I was not explicitly taught pedagogy in online environments, I still think that a lot of the same principals apply and I have several ideas and thoughts on what works and what does not work with online learning. I have also been thinking a lot about the different perspectives of online learning, both as a teacher and as a student.

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In Honor of a Mentor

I am very fortunate. I have what most people wish they could have much later in their career and in their life in general.

I have a mentor.

If he ever reads this, I can just see him puffing up with pride and self-importance. I think he likes that I associate him with that title. I don’t mind though. Really. He deserves it.

When we met, I was 18 and a freshmen in college. I only knew him as the music theory professor that taught the “hard” theory classes. Everyone cautioned me to stay on top of my work in his class.

They were right. I did have to work a little harder in his class but, since it was challenging in a good way, I enjoyed it. I was also frequently amused and bemused by his random analogies and comments.

When I realized that I wanted to go to graduate school to (hopefully) be a professor, I knew that I would need help. I knew that the scope of the application in terms of quality was beyond me. At the time, this was a big step for me because I didn’t usually ask for help or even know how, and certainly not in such a substantial way.

I did not know him well at the time and he did not know me, but I did suspect that he would know how to help me. I remember a class where he expressed that if anyone wanted to teach in higher ed, he would be able to help. However, I didn’t think I could just walk in and ask for an independent study for a paper to send off to graduate schools. Why would he take me seriously? He didn’t know me.

So I found a way to get my head in his office on a more frequent basis. I started slowly at first. I wanted the relationship to develop organically. Eventually, I told him that I wanted to be an ethnomusicologist and his reaction was heartening. He was excited and thrilled. I was surprised at such a strong reaction but I took it as a good sign.

The next day, the orchestra director had heard about my wish from him and came up to me and expressed her enthusiasm. This reaction was encouraging to me since I admire her immensely.

When I explained to him that I needed a paper for my application, he immediately suggested an independent study. I was pleased. Though I had yet to assign the title of mentor, I was relieved that someone was willing to help me. Little did I know that he would deliver in spades.

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Without the Humanities

Human History Without The Humanities

I frequently engage in this train of thought: what would the world and human history be like if the humanities had never existed?

A slightly related train of thought includes: what would our lives be like without humanities majors and degrees? Or what if the humanities in all the various forms were not taught at colleges and universities?

I began contemplating this line of inquiry more frequently after a wonderful conversation with one of my best friends. At the time of this post, she is a doctoral student at an Ivy League University where she is in a hard science field. At the time of our conversation, we were in the senior year of our undergraduate school and agonizing over which graduate school to attend.

The conversation turned to an intense but friendly debate: humanities vs hard science and their methodologies and contributions to society and all the subcategories one can think of within this debate.

Her job was to argue that the hard sciences are superior in importance and my job was to argue that they are equal in importance.

Now, before I continue, I would like to say that my friend is an accomplished poet and writer. She is also a lover of music, art, philosophy, and culture. She is truly a renaissance woman and while science is her career, the humanities are very, very important to her.

Quick note: while the humanities and education is my career, I do like to read about the hard sciences and keep up in the same way that she keeps up with current and past cultural happenings.

However, we engaged in this debate to see what would happen. It was easily one of the best conversations of my life.

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