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William is an Assistant Professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in the Department of Business Administration and Tourism and Hospitality Management. He is fascinated by research around how individuals construct and create their social realities, intrigued with the powers of creativity and innovation, and an avid proponent of outstanding service experiences. When not teaching, writing, or researching, he tries to spend time with his family and occasionally paint. He is currently completing his PhD in Management at Saint Mary’s University.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Curiousity & talent are a powerful combination

I've been teaching over a decade now and have seen a lot of students.

Some show up, some don't. Some do the work, some don't. I know the game, having been a student myself for the better part of my life. I've had the pleasure of meeting and teaching some great ones, students who have gone on to solid careers and success. I've also met my share of challenges.

Occasionally, I run across a student that pulls my attention away from the centre mass of the group. One that pulls me in a way I did not expect. One that has talent, but that's not enough. I've had many talented students, gifted to solve problems. To them, answers come easy and solutions are apparent.

But every now and again, a curious student pops up. Ah, that sweet fresh air of curiosity that blows in like a spring breeze. A curious student brushes away all the mild frustrations of those who are just going through the motions. They reignite a slow burning fire to do more. And normally they show themselves with a question.

'I'm sorry to bother you, but I have a question."

They are humble. You see, curiosity doesn't have space for ego; realizing that there is more to learn and asking questions removes all the space needed to hold onto the notion that you might know it all.

I have one such student right now, every week asking deep, well constructed questions outside of the public eye of the class. Asking me to dig a little deeper and provide a well thought out answer to topics not covered by the curriculum. Because a course outline isn't why they are here. It's the quest, the hunger to dig deeper. To ask questions because, well, there are questions to be asked.

Suffice it to say that when someone apologizes for asking for more knowledge, not only is it my job to step forward and engage; it is my pleasure. I too am a student. I too am curious and you have opened up a new lesson for us to challenge.

Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. I am both a student and occasional teacher, too. Having waited 18 years between undergrad and grad school also turned me into a more motivated, directed and curious learner. Your student is lucky to have those qualities now as curiosity outstrips probably any other virtue, including intelligence, when it comes to acquiring knowledge. Also, teaching has helped me to be a better student, I am sure. Last week I was teaching a grade 5 class about writing and was talking about how writing is a muscle you must exercise. I challenged the kids who play sports to think about how they improve. Do they practice, or do they lie on the couch and play video games? One smart alec piped up and said video games help him with hockey because they improve his hand-eye coordination and reflexes. He was contradicting my point, but I had to concede there was some modicum of truth in this. Teachers teach students, but as you point out, students teach teachers, too.

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