Right, so today I discovered an interesting analogy. Tutoring middle and high school students is much like the action of enzymatic processes. To explain:
In an enzyme, there are two relevant sites: the active site and the Allosteric site. An enzyme is a catalyst in a reaction, which means it accelerates certain reactions without being used up in the process. This way, a small amount of enzyme can cause a massive reaction. The way an enzyme changes a substrate (the stuff being changed) is by having it attach to the active site on the enzyme, which then performs the reaction, and the products are released. With me so far? Good. Now, here’s the fun part. There are substances called inhibitors which control enzymes. For example, a competitive inhibitor blocks the active site of an enzyme temporarily, while a non-competitive inhibitor attaches to the Allosteric site and completely blocks the enzyme from functioning alltogether.
So how does this compare to anything? Simple.
I am the enzyme. I catalyze the action of learning. I convert the base substrate (untaught students) into wise products (students who actually get the point of the lesson now). My attention and speaking is the active site, to which the substrate binds. There are, however, competitive inhibitors. These are students that require my attention for frivolous tasks which I find entertaining. The other, more damaging inhibitor is the non-competitive inhibitor. Namely, while I am trying to teach someone, they will often pull out their cellphone as I am talking to them and begin texting/checking Facebook/whatever. The point is, this kind of behaviour often destroys any good intentions the enzyme had while it goes to its desk to sit there, and while sulking, make some rather interesting mathematical observations it keeps in an orange folder.
Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 11:53 am  Comments (1)