I did it my way
Here is an explanation of what I was trying to say when I paraphrased One.
It’s quite a simple message – basically, any way of teaching that is packaged and labelled is not as benevolent as it seems. It most certainly is not the way to teach. People who say otherwise are deluded – and this isn’t meant to sound insulting.
Teaching is a skill that unfolds in response to what is happening around it. Anything that promises to be The Way that Fits All Circumstances is nothing more than snake oil. Looking for this Way That Fits All Circumstances will make you miserable. A butterfly pinned down in an exhibition box is not a butterfly. It is a dead butterfly. It was a butterfly. Now it is an exhibit.
When you look at your class, or look at your teaching, don’t try to find an answer. Find a question: will they like this? Do they need this? How can this help them? How do I teach them reading? Can I teach them reading? How do I get them to remain focussed? Why am I always lecturing them about homework? Does homework work? The best teachers will recognise that they know almost zilch. They know that questions are good. Aren’t they?
I think it was Kojak who once said, “I only know that I know nothing.” This is more profound than it appears on the surface. It’s more profound than it appears in the deeps. It is also remarkably liberating. There was a Korean zen master who taught that ignorance was the root to knowing it all: keep a don’t know mind.
The Tao Te Ching is a book about The way. Frank Sinatra was right. There is only ever one way – your way. Don’t think about it, do it! The way is not an intellectual pursuit; it is a route…of action. It has to be done, not discovered. Machado had it right too – you discover it by walking it. How do you become a better teacher? By teaching and asking yourself a lot of questions. How do you become a better learner? By learning and asking yourself a lot of questions.
Questions don’t need answers any more than beds need breakfasts or fish need chips.