Archive for the ‘Tao for teachers’ Category


November 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Good teachers don’t know they’re good teachers.

Lao said this; Dunning Kruger agreed.

Bad teachers think they’re good; they’re not,

but thinking so keeps them bad not good.

How to get better? Don’t – you’re fine.

Don’t think you’re fine, you’ll never be good!

So what to do now? What needs to be done;

but don’t do it all,  for there’s nothing to do.


What the hell are you saying? This doesn’t make sense.

Let’s try again; keep up if you can:


Your way of teaching is simply the best.

Lose it and you might end up trying your best.

When you try your best, you soon find your worst;

when the worst becomes known, it’s time for a must.

Must points to the ways that are sanctioned by law.

When laws are laid down, your way is obscured.

Received wisdom means you haven’t a clue.


The best teachers have no need for good

They don’t need bad or what’s in between.

They need some students and really, that’s it.

When the students are there, the way becomes clear.




Categories: Tao for teachers


June 16, 2017 Leave a comment

With no classroom, no teachers, no students

No books, no tech, no tests, no desks, no chairs

You find yourself in the best equipped school.

What a great method, this one with no name!

There’s no better way to learn a language

Than doing nothing – or doing it all.

Stop wanting to get better. You’ll do fine.


*My earlier commentary on Chapter 37 is here.


Categories: Tao for teachers Tags: ,


June 2, 2017 Leave a comment

…”and how are things?”

Never a good question

to ask a taoist

if you’re in a rush

and just trying

to engage in pleasant chat

before dashing away.


How are things? They aren’t.

Believe anything else

and sleep with the fishes.

Believe this

and put

your books



*My earlier commentary on Chapter 36 can be read here.


Categories: Tao for teachers


March 31, 2017 Leave a comment

The students no longer come to the class.

So lazy, you think, they don’t want to learn.

You’re wrong: students always want to learn things,

but teachers don’t always want to teach them.

Tell the inspectors you don’t have a plan,

and the inspectors will no longer come.

Like this, teaching cannot be seen or heard,

idiots who think otherwise don’t help.

It’s not true: if you build it, they won’t come.

Don’t build anything; you’re not a builder.

Just teach: they will all come and they will learn.


Categories: Tao for teachers Tags: ,


January 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Learning opportunities everywhere;

opportunities for teaching also.

Every thing is a complete lesson.


Nothing is useless. Yes, nothing at all!

But not everything will serve your purpose.

So, do you now propose to change the world?


Change and meddle, but things go their own way

pushed along by a much more powerful force

that is, you know, really no force at all.


Teach like this and there will be none better.

Not trying, you no longer need to try.


*My original commentary on Chapter 34 can be read here.

April 8, 2016 Leave a comment

you’re sleeping

chest rises and falls

I watch

terrified that suddenly

it will rise and fall no more

Categories: Tao for teachers


March 30, 2016 Leave a comment

Know yourself without thinking

and there will be no better teacher than you.

In self-control, who controls who?

Answer this and the world will listen.


There has never been a better resourced teacher than you.

All of this time, you’ve known every last thing.

Put away your books and teach the right way.

The impact will be felt for generations.


*My original commentary on Chapter 33 can be read here.

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