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.
The teacher has authority,
but unless it is revoked
and the teacher becomes a student
the teacher is no good.
We follow our path.
Every question has an answer,
but unless you keep looking for it
while accepting it will never be found,
your answers are no good.
Our path has no end.
Enjoy the respect you deserve,
but unless you understand
that respect is never deserved,
you will never be a teacher.
You knew everything
when you knew nothing.
Know nothing once again.
It contains all that you need.
The greatest teachers teach nothing.
*My original commentary on Chapter 28 can be found here
That perfection exists, all students know.
Though this is all they know,
and look instead for what is good.
But you want to show them what is new
and so they fear, then hate, it all.
Objectives, timings, aims and stages
up-end the process; degrade the learners.
Under your supervision,
the only ones who get top marks
say, “We didn’t do anything. Not even revise!”
*My original commentary on Chapter 17 is here.
Do you know how to live your life
without dividing it into work and play?
Can you respond to whatever comes up
without getting all breathless and flustered?
Can you see through all the confusion
without making things worse?
Do you need a teaching qualification
To love and help your students?
Between becoming a teacher and your retirement party,
do you really have to teach?
Is it possible to let learning happen
without making it happen?
To be a teacher, look after your students.
To be a teacher, forget “your” subject.
Don’t rely upon titles, books, certificates, job descriptions.
Be the best in the class, but don’t be the boss in the class.
This is teaching as it is meant to be done.
*My original commentary on Chapter 10 is here
This part of the TTC sets out some guidelines for good behaviour. Primarily, don’t compete. Or perhaps it would be more in keeping with Tao to say, “Don’t bother competing”. Lao says, look at something like water. It does a lot of good things and makes a lot of people very happy (unless it’s pouring down from the sky or you were on the HMS Titanic), but it doesn’t actually try to do this. It can get places where we can’t (or don’t want to) and therefore, according to our sage, it is very similar to The Tao. Read more…
Heaven and Earth are ruthless;
They see the ten thousand things as dummies.
The wise are ruthless;
They see the people as dummies.
Did you ever wonder why there weren’t more people called Ruth in EFL? Read more…