What is a teacher?
This is what I was trying to say when I wrote eight.
Taoism likes water and this chapter in the original text compares tao to water. The tao, as you may have gathered, is everything, so if it is like water, language is like water, teaching is like water etc. How so?
Lao Tzu answers that question pretty plainly – water gets everywhere and it brings things to life. It doesn’t set out to do this, it just does it. Teaching, it follows, can change a person’s life (for the better) in the most unexpected ways.
To teach well, it is vital to have the interests of the learners at heart. Not to say that you have them at heart, but really have them there. If this is the case, then pretty much anything that you choose to call teaching will hit the mark.
Lots of teachers worry about giving negative feedback – don’t! That is, don’t worry about it, but do give it. When students know that this is coming from a person who has their best interests at heart, they are invariably happy to get this sort of critical appraisal.
Don’t insist on students reproducing what you have taught them because you are the expert. Just because you’re the expert means nothing. You go and be the expert. How good does it feel? Teachers who feel the need to insist on their way or the highway are not really teachers. But at the same time, teachers are those who mark out the highway and insist that it is this way and this way alone. Am I contradicting myself? Yes and no.
What is the teacher’s job? The teacher’s job is to teach. So teach. How do you know when you are teaching? Answer that question and you are a teacher. Confused? Go back to the start of this paragraph and read it again. A teacher teaches. You know you are teaching when you are a teacher. Come on! This is straightforward stuff. Similarly, you know you are a teacher when you are teaching. But what is teaching? It’s what a teacher does. But how do you know if a teacher is teaching? Easy! If they’re not teaching, they’re not a teacher! If they’re not a teacher, they’re not teaching! This is the only acceptable definition of a teacher. No matter what you might think, all others are wrong; think again!
The line It’s about working with ignorance, not against it was inspired.