Posted by: elightkeeper | March 23, 2010

Who is your teacher?

Recently, a student dropped into the virtual school office looking for his Math tutorial.  “Who is your teacher?” I asked in my welcoming, non-intimidating administrative voice.

His face went blank. Much whirring of the internal hard drive in his head could be heard, with little information retrieval forthcoming. And then the blue screen of death: “I don’t know…” he said.

What do you mean, “YOU DON’T KNOW?!!” I thought to myself loudly, all in inappropriate CAPS and decorated with multiple exclamation marks.  But when I reflected on this phenomenon for a moment, his blank response suddenly led me to a different conclusion, one that is perhaps more typical of a virtual teacher-student relationship.

In an environment where the teacher is no longer the center of the learning universe, where ” the sage on the stage” has been replaced by “the guide on the side”, it is quite possible, and in fact quite likely, that students will not have the name of their teacher front and center in their minds. Further, it is quite possible that the teacher and pupil would not even recognize each other if they happened to be in the same Best Buy trying out PlayStation 3.

Does this mean the teacher has not done his/her job? No, it does not.  It might mean that the focus is on the learning and not on who is doing the teaching.  Does it mean the student is not paying attention? No, it does not. It might mean that the student is paying closer attention to the learning and not who is leading the class.



  1. “Does this mean the teacher has not done his/her job? No, it does not.” *PHEW*!!!

    • That could easily become another myth about teaching and learning in a distributed learning environment! Thanks for the comment. I hope you are marginally reassured. 🙂

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