An “Ultimate” Perception on Teaching

An “Ultimate” Perception on Teaching by Emma Preston, SED 2016

Despite the best efforts of Professor Tate, there still exists a stereotype that those who can’t do, teach. Through the media, children are always presented with the teacher who was a talented gymnast but sprained his ankle doing a double, or the artist whose work never sold, or the mathematician whose theories never became a reality, all of whom are forced to resort to teaching because they could no longer make a living off of their passions.

My question is why is it that education is always perceived in this way? Why do people think that talented individuals can’t willingly become teachers, and be darn good at it too?

I believe that we change this perception. There are plenty of examples out there of skilled teachers, and especially here at BU. I know from personal experience that some of the most talented people become the best teachers, of their own free will.

Preston Illustration-01

Artwork by jason Gan

A shining example of this is this year’s coaching staff of the Boston University Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. As a college ultimate player, I am fortunate enough to be learning from the ultimate expertise of Seth Reinhardt and Casey Terp. Seth and Casey are both Professional Ultimate Frisbee Players (for those of you who are athletically deprived, Ultimate Frisbee is a real up-and-coming sport). Literally as I am writing this I am watching our coach, Seth, at nationals on ESPN. My coach, my teacher, my role model is on E.S.P.N. You can’t tell me that’s not cool.

Yet, when Seth and Casey aren’t busy playing for 3 of Boston’s most talented teams, and being on TV they take the time out of their busy days to come coach my teammates and me. After long days at work, these men devote several hours a few days a week to teaching us the ins and outs of the sport they love, and encouraging us to love it with them. They build off of the foundation of their upper level ultimate experience and push us to be better and better at each practice and every game. Just three tournaments into the season we can already see improvement, and have beaten teams like Northeastern, a talented team that the BU Women’s Ultimate team has always striven to emulate.

I don’t know about you but those look like the basic qualities of a good teacher to me. Having a depth of knowledge in a subject area, and being passionate about imparting that information to others, are what we’re taught to strive for as future teachers.

Maybe, instead of portraying teaching to children as a last resort—as the media often does—we should start exposing our children to examples of successful talented teachers like Seth and Casey.



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