THE BLOG
01/16/2015 12:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Too Good Teachers

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I've had some incredible teachers. Most of them are teachers who, at one point or another, I've thought were too good or smart to be teaching at the level in which they were teaching. I had a few English teachers and a math teacher in high school who definitely fit into that category, and many of my previous professors taught intensive courses along with basic ones. I have looked at all and thought, "Having them teach such basic courses is such a waste of their talent and knowledge..." Now, however, I realize how important it is to have these kinds of educators at the front lines teaching such the basics.

When I first moved to Florida, I was about 7 years old. I was reading children's novels regularly, and was seen as a very gifted child. My second grade teacher often had me read to the class when he wanted to rest his voice and he used to select my books for me when we went to the library. (I promise I'm doing more than tooting my own horn; I have a point.) Although I was a smart child, being identified as such crippled me. As I went on in my K-12 years in advanced placement courses, it was assumed that I had a certain amount of basic education in general knowledge -- of which I did not. One consequence I could give you as an example and result of this is that by the time I was a freshman in college I had little to no knowledge of basic geography. It wasn't until I was 19 when I learned where Phoenix, Arizona is and how to determine the directions of north, south, east, and west. That's not the only, "Oh my gosh, how don't you know this?" moment I've ever had, and I'm sure it won't be my last.

I am not ashamed to admit my lack of knowledge at the time and now because it doesn't mean I'm stupid. It means no one bothered to teach me a lot of basics because they assumed I already knew them. This is a dangerous mistake I notice happens to a lot of advanced placement students. The fact is, kids can never be over-educated, and teachers can never be too good to teach any subject, no matter how simple. We shouldn't fear wasting their time with simple knowledge, because assuming they already know things puts them at risk for never learning them. Moreover, they need the best of teachers to teach them basics because they'll be the ones who serve as the cornerstone for the rest of their education.

I'm really glad and lucky I came along these teachers who were so good that I thought them to be too good. The better the teacher, the more different types of students they should be given, as they are the ones to make the most impact in their future. They are the ones that make difficult classes easy later in life because they made easy classes difficult by challenging us.