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Unit 3


Every teacher probably asks himself time and again: Why am I a teacher? Do the rewards of teaching outweigh the trying moments? Answering these questions is not a simple task. Let's see what the author says.


Why I TeachPeter G. Beidler

Why do you teach? My friend asked the question when I told him that I didn't want to be considered for an administrative position. He was puzzled that I did not want what was obviously a "step up" toward what all Americans are taught to want when they grow up: money and power.



你为什么要教书呢? 当我告诉一位朋友我不想谋求行政职务时,他便向我提出这一问题。所有美国人受的教育是长大成人后应该追求金钱和权力,而我却偏偏不要明明是朝这个目标“迈进”的工作,他为之大惑不解。

Certainly I don't teach because teaching is easy for me. Teaching is the most difficult of the various ways I have attempted to earn my living: mechanic, carpenter, writer. For me, teaching is a red-eye, sweaty-palm, sinking-stomach profession. Red-eye, because I never feel ready to teach no matter how late I stay up preparing. Sweaty-palm, because I'm always nervous before I enter the classroom, sure that I will be found out for the fool that I am. Sinking-stomach, because I leave the classroom an hour later convinced that I was even more boring than usual.


Nor do I teach because I think I know answers, or because I have knowledge I feel compelled to share. Sometimes I am amazed that my students actually take notes on what I say in class!


Why, then, do I teach?


I teach because I like the pace of the academic calendar. June, July, and August offer an opportunity for reflection, research, and writing.



I teach because teaching is a profession built on change. When the material is the same, I change — and, more important, my students change.


I teach because I like the freedom to make my own mistakes, to learn my own lessons, to stimulate myself and my students. As a teacher, I'm my own boss. If I want my freshmen to learn to write by creating their own textbook, who is to say I can't? Such courses may be huge failures, but we can all learn from failures.

我教书,是因为我喜欢有让自己犯错误的自由,有让自己吸取教训的自由,有激励自己和激励学生的自由。作为教师,我可以自行做主。如果我想要求一年级学生通过自行编写课本的办法来学习写作,谁能说我不可以那样做呢? 这样的课程也许会彻底失败,但我们都可以从失败的尝试中获得教益。

I teach because I like to ask questions that students must struggle to answer. The world is full of right answers to bad questions. While teaching, I sometimes find good questions.


I teach because I enjoy finding ways of getting myself and my students out of the ivory tower and into the real world. I once taught a course called "Self-Reliance in a Technological Society." My 15 students read Emerson, Thoreau, and Huxley. They kept diaries. They wrote term papers.


But we also set up a corporation, borrowed money, purchased a run-down house and practiced self-reliance by renovating it. At the end of the semester, we sold the house, repaid our loan, paid our taxes, and distributed the profits among the group.


So teaching gives me pace, and variety, and challenge, and the opportunity to keep on learning.


I have left out, however, the most important reasons why I teach.


One is Vicky. My first doctoral student, Vicky was an energetic student who labored at her dissertation on a little-known 14th century poet. She wrote articles and sent them off to learned journals. She did it all herself, with an occasional nudge from me. But I was there when she finished her dissertation, learned that her articles were accepted, got a job and won a fellowship to Harvard working on a book developing ideas she'd first had as my student.


Another reason is George, who started as an engineering student, then switched to English because he decided he liked people better than things.


There is Jeanne, who left college, but was brought back by her classmates because they wanted her to see the end of the self-reliance house project. I was there when she came back. I was there when she told me that she later became interested in the urban poor and went on to become a civil rights lawyer.


There is Jacqui, a cleaning woman who knows more by intuition than most of us learn by analysis. Jacqui has decided to finish high school and go to college.


These are the real reasons I teach, these people who grow and change in front of me. Being a teacher is being present at the creation, when the clay begins to breathe. 这些在我眼前成长、变化的人,便是我要当教师的真正原因。当一名教师意味着是创造的见证人,他目睹人体开始呼吸,开始了生命。

A "promotion" out of teaching would give me money and power. But I have money. I get paid to do what I enjoy: reading, talking with people, and asking questions like, "What is the point of being rich?"


And I have power. I have the power to nudge, to fan sparks, to suggest books, to point out a pathway. What other power matters?


But teaching offers something besides money and power: it offers love. Not only the love of learning and of books and ideas, but also the love that a teacher feels for that rare student who walks into a teacher's life and begins to breathe. Perhaps love is the wrong word: magic might be better.


I teach because, being around people who are beginning to breathe, I occasionally find myself catching my breath with them.



To my mind, in any analysis (1) of the professions (2), few can match teaching. One needs to be energetic (3), certainly, for occasionally it seems one hardly has time to catch his breath (4). It can mean staying up (5) late in order to get lessons prepared on time. Nonetheless, I am convinced (6) that the work is more stimulating (7) than that of my administrative (8) colleagues. I certainly would not wish to switch (9), even though the pay is higher. With teaching, the pace (10) of life is more varied, allowing greater time for reflection (11) and research. Yet most of all it is the chance to see the spark (12) of a fresh idea taking hold in a student's mind that is the most rewarding aspect of the job, repaying (13) all one's efforts

1. 许多美国大学生申请政府贷款交付学费。


2. 除阅读材料外,使用电影和多媒体(multimedia)会激发学生学习的兴趣。


3. 这位律师试图说服陪审团(jury)他的当事人(client)是无辜的。(convince sb. of)


4. 提问常常会引发创造的火花。


5. 我已经把我的简历(résumé)寄往几家公司,但尚未收到回复。


6. 她的结论是建立在对当前国际情况进行了认真的分析的基础上的。


7. 我们满怀期望地来参加会议,离开时却大失所望。


8. 暂时他只得接受了一份给一家化妆品公司发促销传单的活儿。


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