Leibniz, the famous 17th century German polymath, seemingly did everything under the sun. One thing he never did was teach. Sure, he “taught” in the sense of explaining his ideas to others, but he never tutored anyone in the proper sense and certainly never taught a class of students. Perhaps he would have made an excellent teacher, but we’ll never know. If Leibniz was a polymath, I am a dilettante. However, there is one thing that keeps me from complete dilettantism: teaching, especially the teaching of philosophy. The content of this blog will be determined largely by the questions my students, friends, colleagues, and strangers ask of me regarding teaching in college. Throughout the life of this blog, I will answer as many as I can. In no particular order, here are some I have gathered:
How is this applicable to my life?
How can one teach a college student to think cogently on their own without professors infecting them with their bias and prejudice?
Why did you decide to teach? Relatedly, how would you respond to the cliché: “those who can do those who can’t teach”?
What am I really thinking when people ask dumb questions?
How do you engage students uninterested in your subject?
How does your ego handle that some people really don’t give a shit about your lifetime academic pursuit?
Does teaching twenty-somethings (mostly) make you really miss–or really really not miss–being in your twenties?
How do you write a good lesson plan?
Is this going to be on the test?
Are you single?
Does your curriculum ever get boring?
Why is teaching so undervalued and therefore so mediocre at many “institutions of higher learning”?
What is your advice for choosing universities? For highschoolers, transfer students, and those going on to graduate school.
What are reasons why you should study philosophy, and reasons why you shouldn’t?
What did you learn teaching at a Catholic institution of learning?
What improvements has philosophy made in the last century, and which ones should it make in the next? Same for pedagogy