When I was in my first [college education] class, I realized that education is all about others and trying to make the world a little bit of a better place.
There are teachers that were the brilliant, perfect student at school. Then there are teachers that were awful in school, and I was that. I wasn’t particularly interested in anything, and I was probably a bit of a parasite.
I got through it with the help of gracious teachers. That does inform the way I teach, because I know that all I needed was a little bit of encouragement from a teacher.
If I see a student do something really well, I try to make a really big deal about it to them and try to call home.
I start [economics] class off telling the students, “Hey, it’s called the miserable science for a reason.” It’s not easy, but we try to have fun with it.
I have them look around the world and identify a problem that what I’m teaching or the curriculum that we’re doing could potentially solve. Then I put them in front of professionals interested in the problem and [who] maybe even have the power or drive to bring a solution to the greater world.
We need to bring them in contact with people who use what they’re learning on a daily basis to try to make the world a better place and kind of break down the walls of the school.
I’ve taught myself how to play music.
Writing music informs the way I teach. When I’m writing a song or composing a song, I think about the final audience: How can I get people to hear the story I’m trying to tell?
[By Light We Loom] is a great example of a perpetually failing business. We’re not making any money off of this.
I talk to students about it. Really at the end of the day, if you’re not doing what you love, you’re kind of wasting your time.
The students know that I’m in a band, so they’ll show up occasionally.
It’s a totally different light to shine on me, a very different Mr. Ling than at school. It breaks down some barriers.
Then sometimes it’s a little awkward for Monday if they didn’t like our music.
11:00 AM EST
September 1, 2016