Why teaching is a lot like fishing

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I come from a long line of good fishermen. You can tell a good fisherman or fisherwoman by their tackle box, where they store their fishing equipment. A good fisher has dozens of different types of hooks, lures, baits, bobs, line, and weights that they choose depending on the fish and the conditions.

Because for a good fisherwoman, the hardest part is getting the fish on the hook. That’s the one part out of her control, so she spends a lot of time on it.

Teachers use hooks too. A hook, in the education sphere, is the first part of a lesson, during which the goal is to engage students and motivate their learning for the day. You want to bait students, get them on the line, and then reel them in.

Why don’t we spend much time on hooks? 

As an educator, I don’t know anyone who has a good hook game. I know lots of people that come up with fun activities or that make adequate power points, ‎but they don’t have hooks. I know people that seem to believe the hook is the outcome: the reason we are learning this is because the government told us to. 

When you blindly follow the outcomes, and teach things merely because they are in the curriculum, you are telling your students, “We are learning this because the government told us to.” 

That sounds like something from 1984.

And from this idea follows that the only reason to learn a topic is because you were told to, not because the world is an inherently fascinating place.

Why are you teaching anything? Why are you a teacher at all? To fulfill the wishes of the government? Are you a drone? No, you’re a human. 

Remember why you got into this

Did you not want to make children love reading or science or the dramatic arts? How does someone come to love something? It’s not by being forced to learn it. 

It’s often by being hooked by a great teacher, by the story they tell and the excitement they spread about a topic.

If you haven’t already, start building your tackle box.