The Stuff in Style

Teaching as a profession.

The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate ‘apparently ordinary’ people to unusual effort.

Teachers Day’s is here. We think of our beginning s. The first thought the is still fresh in mind is the experience, either good or bad, that we had in our early schooling. We fondly think of some teachers who inspired us, convinced us of what we should be and helped us to dream a good future both for ourselves and for the society.


Dan Rather said, “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called “truth.”

The real heroes of our youngsters are not the cine stars but the teachers who made an impact. Often this fact is not brought out to the fore because there is no more glamour in the teaching profession.

The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate ‘apparently ordinary’ people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: It is in making winners out of ordinary people.

Only teachers bring us a meaning system that challenges our convictions. As a result we are able to have fair ideals for life. History proves this point.

Most of the wise men we read in history were teachers too. They not only had the right kind of knowledge to impart; they had the right kind of teaching style. That is how they are remembered in history.

There are many such good teachers even today, full of wisdom and knowledge. Unfortunately we cannot see or measure the fruits of their real teaching. It shows itself only after many years of experience. It stays dormant Inside as meaning system till the right moment comes. Jacques Barzun rightly pointed out, “In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so.” The fruits of our education may be seen only after ten or twenty years.

This being so difficult, the struggle of teachers is to bring out a result that they themselves cannot see or experience. With a blind aim and hazy direction, they are asked to guide the students. Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task.

Great men believed in the power of education. Aristotle wrote: “The fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” Education in the key to any change or revolution and this lies with the teacher. That is the power of the teacher. Amidst the entire struggle a teacher undergoes in the classroom, he/she also realizes his/her power-power to change the student and the society. The real power comes from empowering the students.

The secret to this power lies in his own being rather than in his doing: What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. This is the key to miracles in education.

The end of education is the expert discernment in everything. A good education helps us to weed out the bad from the good and the counterfeit from the genuine. This helps us to opt for the good and the genuine when we make true life choices.

A good teacher is an instrument in reaching this goal. William Arthur Ward said. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” A good teacher not only has the style of teaching but the right kind of stuff and passes on the stuff in style to inspire.

Glorious Steve sdb


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