4 Apr, 2013
The Difference Between “Good” and “Bad” Teachers
What’s the difference between a “good” teacher and a “bad” teacher, between a great learning experience and a bore? Intuitively, we all know the difference. Bad teachers are dull and uninspiring. Their lectures drone on and on, and before long it’s a struggle just to stay awake. I had an English professor once who so inspired me that I spent time in the library expanding my knowledge of the literature we were discussing. Making an “A” in his class was easy. The next semester, I had a professor who was so dull that I had trouble keep my eyes open in his class. Ever since then, I have tried to emulate the great teacher.
Effective teachers are engaging, often entertaining, and fearless. They’ll do just about anything to hold a student’s attention and find a way to drive home an important principle. Even the most highly motivated students learn more, and retain more of what they learn, when they are entertained.
Important points need to be presented in several forms, because everyone has a unique learning style. It’s also entertaining (and thought-provoking) to preview upcoming lectures. For example, we need a drilling fluid that has a very low viscosity when it leaves the drill bit nozzles but has a very high viscosity when it is coming back up the hole to bring up the cuttings. How do we create such a fluid? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s lecture!
Creative teachers often improvise. They know that a simple, 1-minute demonstration with everyday props will sometimes be the catalyst that crystallizes a concept you’ve been discussing for 20 minutes. With a little imagination, a nut on the end of a string becomes the drilling fluid whirling inside a desilter. A rubber band becomes an elastic drill string causing surge and swab pressures – the result of stopping or starting the drill pipe movement too quickly. A tray of sand becomes a beach that illustrates the dilatant behavior of sand. A piece of hard black shale conveys the impermeable nature of shale to go with the electron microscope picture that shows holes in the shale. A stack of paper becomes a clay structure. A torn sheet of paper illustrates how some of the charges are created by disrupting a crystal structure. This is then the pathway to solving the ‘advertising teaser’. A wadded-up sheet of paper is a drilled solid that would clearly disrupt a good filter cake.
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Two-way communication continues after the course ends.
Learning is a two-way process that connects teachers with participants and the present with the past. Participants must always feel encouraged to ask questions that link course discussion with their own past experiences on the job. Seldom does a class exist where two students have the same background. The questions usually reflect that.
Long after the class is over, the conversation continues. I encourage participants to call or email whenever questions arise and assure them they will not be charged a consulting fee. This ongoing connection helps them relate the theory and technology we discussed to their work. It also helps to keep me in tune with current problems – so we’re learning from one another.
LEON ROBINSON had a 39 year career at Exxon and made contributions in many technology areas such as: mud cleaners, explosive drilling, drilling data telemetry, subsurface rock mechanics, and drilling and hydraulic optimization techniques, tertiary oil recovery, on-site drilling workshops, world-wide drilling fluid seminars and rig site consultation. Throughout his last 25 years with Exxon, he delivered annual lectures at in-house Drilling Engineering Schools on various topics.
Since retiring from Exxon Production Research in 1992, Dr. Robinson has remained active working with the SPE, API, AADE, IADC, and consulting on drilling activities. He has received 34 US patents, 23 International patents, the 1981 IADC Special Recognition Award, the 1986 SPE Drilling Engineering Award, several Exxon lecturer awards, the 1999 AADE Meritorious Service Award, the 2004 SPE Legion of Honor Award, the 2006 API Service Award, in 2006 was inducted into the AADE Hall of Fame, in Sept. 2008, one of the first five recognized by SPE as a “Drilling Legend”.
Currently, he is a consultant, Chairman of the IADC Technical Publications Committee writing the encyclopedia of drilling, Chairman of an API task group involved with API RP 13C, member of API task groups addressing issues with drilling fluids and hydraulics, and on the AADE Conference planning committee. He was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1946, received a B.S. and a M.S. in Physics from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics from N.C. State University.
There are many types of teachers that each student encounters in their high school careers. Four different types include: the “blow-off” teacher, the hard teacher, the funny teacher and the best friend teacher. These diverse “species” of teachers make high school interesting, demanding and enjoyable. Each type provides you with a different aspect of what the true high school experience should feel like.
The “blow-off” teacher is the teacher that everyone wants. He or she is usually classified as the one that does not assign difficult assignments or challenging tests. These teachers usually hate being at school just as much as the students do. Instead of cramming in a quick lesson on half-days or shortened days, they would rather give a study hall or nap break. These teachers are usually favorites but also do not prepare you for your next educational step unlike the harder teachers would.
The hard teacher is the teacher that everyone does not want. The moment when the student sees his or her new schedule and sees their name, they automatically know that it is going to be a miserable year unless they can switch out. Then, they exhaust their efforts only to find that everyone else switched out before them and he or she is stuck in that class. During the year, they are despondent, up to your eyeballs in papers and projects. But, at the end of the year, they are very thankful that the difficult and demanding teacher prepared you correctly for the new challenge that the next academic year may bring.
The funny teacher is also one that everyone wants. His or her humor makes the class, even if it is hard, enjoyable. The student often looks forward to their class and is in a much better mood than for other classes. The teacher can retain the students’ attention through comedy and wit and the point of the lesson is regularly understood better. The teacher is usually a favorite and even though the material that needs to be learned is difficult, students love going to that class and listening to the teacher’s jokes.
The best friend teacher is the teacher that is the most relatable. He or she is usually very young and often takes about inappropriate things with his or her students. Students feel as if the teacher is a peer and not an elder. This results in favoring certain students that the teacher has a special relationship with. This also results in students wanting the specific teacher because of that reason, not because of the desire to learn and expand their knowledge.
The pushover teacher is also a student favorite. These teachers usually let their classes rule over them and push them over. Items that are affected by the student’s decisions can range from due dates to tests and assignments. These teachers are usually too afraid to stand up to their students and therefore give in to begging from the students to change due dates and tests.
The good teacher is the one that you love for actually teaching you. He or she is an excellent teacher that assigns fair assignments and tests. They are very helpful in ways of explaining situations or different ways of solving a problem. The students love to attend his or her class because they know that they will learn something that is beneficial to their education. These teachers are usually loved and respected by students because of their excellent way of teaching.
In conclusion, during any student’s high school career, they will most likely experience any one of the main “species” of teachers: the “blow-off” teacher, the hard teacher, the funny teacher, the best friend teacher, the pushover teacher and the good teacher. Each teacher assists the student in completing high school and making the difficult transition into the busy and complex life of college.