Connecticut College Magazine · Winter 2004


The Fight for Human Rights

The Tundra by Tank

Why I teach
Voices from the classroom

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Tek-Wah King

Tek-Wah King
Tek-Wah King

Senior Lecturer in Chinese, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Joined CC faculty: 1994

I teach to nourish learning. Books and information abound, and the desire to study may be deeply rooted, but without guidance and supervision the road to acquiring knowledge may turn purposeless and ineffective. In this sense I teach to be a learning facilitator, a student aid and an educator.

I teach to build and strengthen the learner’s core capabilities. Although I also teach to present constructs such as frameworks and models, I keep in mind that they may be replaced once the basic assumptions are changed. Only well-grounded fundamentals will last a long time.

I teach to conform and to question. I spread others’ findings that are empirically well-supported, but in the meantime reveal debatable connections that may need to be recast. I want my teaching to help deepen understanding of issues but also to help tolerate uncertainties.

I teach in order to learn, too. To better learn the subject matter that I have always wanted to know, to learn about the fascinating learner psychology and diverse learner background, to learn from my students and colleagues alike, and to learn of my own limits as a teacher. When hard pressed, I probably would acknowledge that I teach partly to seek ways to improve myself. I teach to educate, only to be educated.

Needless to say, I also teach to make ends meet, and in so doing teaching has remained my deed of worldly trade. But I teach to maintain a sense of self-esteem as well, such that I can continue to reason and to dream. I teach to stay connected with different and indifferent worlds, to stand proud but to feel humble, and to anticipate satisfaction and accept frustration. I will go on teaching. In the end, I hope I will teach to become a more understanding and compassionate person.

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