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April 22, 2008 / Ben Chun

Teach What You Love

This is my advice to anyone who is considering a teaching career, or teachers considering changing subjects: make sure you love the subject. Seriously.

In my 10th grade class I decided to include some business topics. It seemed to go along nicely with learning PowerPoint and all the web technologies. After all, the point of this stuff is to build applications and sell them to Google, right? Well, maybe not entirely. But it was hard to argue against including some basics of business, financial and media literacy, as we know them in 2008. I even got a collaborative project going that applied the skills.

So, what’s the problem? I’m not really excited about business concepts. Sure, I think they’re important and useful and I probably refer to business models and ideas a lot more than most teachers. But it isn’t something I’m really passionate about teaching. It’s not as intellectually interesting as programming, and after talking to students about markets and products for an hour I get to a point where I don’t really care about the Ansoff Product-Market Growth Matrix at all. It’s just a tool. I wish we weren’t dwelling on it, but at the same time I don’t want students to be confused about these concepts and many of them are.

Hence my advice. You’re going to have to live in the world of the subjects you choose to teach. Don’t pick lightly.

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