Why do I teach?

Maybe we should start a faculty essay contest. . . how would you answer this question?

Today’s piece in the New York Times by Gary Gutting offers some very thoughtful reflection. Here’s a snatch:

The fruits of college teaching should be measured not by tests but by the popularity of museums, classical concerts, art film houses, and book discussion groups, and publications like Scientific American, the New York Review of Books, The Economist, and The Atlantic, to cite just a few. These are the places where our students reap the benefits of their education.

Read the whole piece and join the conversation: Why do I Teach?.


3 thoughts on “Why do I teach?

  1. Majorminor says:

    Teaching allows me to read and discuss materials I normally would not be reading or discussing. It broadens my background in my field’s literature.

  2. Dan Ross says:

    I like to think of a story I heard from Andrew Delbanco, a distinguished professor of literature at Columbia and author of a recent book on the history of American universities. Delbanco had been asked to give a talk on his book to a group of Columbia’s alumni. He essentially argued that while a university education can help you get a job, its greatest contribution has always been turning out informed, good citizens. He said at the end of his talk an older mann–well-dressed, distinguished, sophisticated–stood up to disagree. Delbanco was taken aback. Then the man said, “You are right in a way; my education did all of these things for me. But the most important thing it did was teach me how to enjoy my life.”

    I would like to think that is why I teach.

  3. I teach because it gives me the opportunity of sharing the pleasure of my aha! moment – the moment I had years ago or even just a few hours ago as I got ready for my class.

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