We are all teachers in some way.
The best teachers are patient and knowledgeable. They usually like to laugh.
I read a marvelous quotation about the Art of Teaching yesterday. It goes like this:
To teach another something is like oiling the wheels of a heavy cart so that they will turn. (Nicheren)
Inherent in this quotation (note not quote, which is a verb) is the learner, who is likened to a heavy cart.
By the time most of us who have spent a lifetime trying to teach others our skills–for me it was how to write, how to read carefully, how to analyze literature, how to punctuate, how to know when to use possessive pronouns, how to be curious, and how to stay focused, among a few language arts necessities– we have lost our patience.
The greatest teachers are the ones who, like my friend Kurt Richey, have passion and the inherent intellectual abilities to persuade learners to follow them toward mastery of that passion.
Kurt is funny, vulnerable, fierce, gentle, self-deprecating and generous, but most of all, he is smart. If only the public school system had more English teachers just like him.
Why, this morning, he is still out there in his barn at Foothill High School repairing carts and going through gallons of oil on those wheels we hope are turning.