MCCC Professor Dori Seider Pens
New Book on Teaching


10/14/08


MCCC Professor Dori Seider has authored Teach Me Something Real, a book on teaching that is a product of her almost four decades in the classroom. "What can we do to keep not only our teaching, but also our lives, more deeply meaningful, vibrant, restorative and exciting?" Seider asks the reader. "This book gives to both new and experienced teachers and learners alike a gift of power and permission to be every ounce of what you want to be -- with vigor and determination, courage, and respect."

Seider's passionate perspective is informed by her continuing role as both teacher and student. A Fulbright Scholar who earned her doctorate from the University of Vermont, Seider has not only taught psychology, French and other classes at MCCC for 38 years, she has also taken many classes at Mercer - in aviation, computer technology, cooking, painting and more. She pays tribute to her "Mercer family" in the book's acknowledgements: Joe Blasenstein, Karen Child, Chris de Pagnier, Guy De Rosa, Amy Iseneker, Debbie Kell, Mel Leipzig, Diane Loving, Marie Wzolak, and many more.

Professor and author, Dr. Dori Seider

Being in the classroom as a student has kept her teaching perspective fresh, Seider says. "A successful teacher must be able to think back to how they felt in frustrating classroom situations, where they knew absolutely nothing," she counsels. "They should embody the 'beginner's mind,' teaching the way they would want to be taught. Teachers should always be on the side of the student - with empathy, insight and respect."

Themes in Teach Me Something Real build on those Seider concentrated on in her first book, A Place Called Happiness, published in 2001, in which she outlines her personal formula for happiness. Her prescription includes replacing guilt and self-criticism with a focus on self-worth, and using crises and obstacles to propel personal growth. The final product is a place of stability and strength. "Teachers can guide this process in their students. Our job as teachers is to reverse the 'failure impulse,'" she said. "Effective teachers create a place of trust and acceptance in their classrooms. Errors are valued as an opportunity to learn."

Seider emphasizes the book's utility. Core ideas are presented at the end of each chapter. In a chapter on creative thinking, she notes, "When you allow yourself to see the same issue from several different perspectives and on different levels, you open your thinking and can make wiser choices." In a chapter on conflict resolution, she observes, "What helps one group ultimately helps both." And in the book's conclusion, she leaves readers on the most positive of notes: "The best teachers know that when you teach, powerful transformations begin to take shape." It's a lesson that Seider believes can help all of us as the country faces tough times. "We need the transformative power of education more than ever. Education lifts us up and connects us with each other."

Copies of Teach Me Something Real will be sold on campus to benefit MCCC's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and other student causes. For more information or to order copies through the publishing company, visit the XLibris Book Publishing Company website here.

 

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