Teaching is an incredibly hard job to get into. Sure you can become a teacher, or an educator, or some other sort of training job title. But it is another thing entirely to become a person who actually teaches people. I find it funny because this just might be the hardest job ever conceived, and yet it is one of the most readily badmouthed. That old line “Those that can do, those that can’t teach.” was either misinterpreted or written by an utter moron.
To teach a person you must have an array of tools. You must be a fantastic speaker, be able to present your topic clearly and concisely. You must also love your field, passion cannot be simulated and without it you will not inspire your students. Following off that you must be truly charismatic, this is something that is difficult, if not impossible, to learn but those that have it are leaps and bounds ahead of others.
You can’t just know your subject from a single perspective but you must be able to grasp it from all possible perspectives. Any person can easily ask a question that the answer book can’t answer, a true teacher can not only answer the question but open a new world of thought to that student.
It doesn’t matter where you are teaching, physical education, music, history, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, art, or architecture. These fields and more all require the absolute best humanity has to offer. Every person has likely had a teacher they felt was less than optimal, but I would be hard-pressed to believe that there lives a person that hasn’t been truly touched by a genuine teacher.
I have had professors of astronomy paint entire universes in my mind with their rhetoric, I’ve had art professors unravel every detail of a painting and further inspire me to look deeper into images I might have otherwise ignored. The ecology of a stream has been laid out before me in such vivid detail that I realized there is an entire world within the world living in small stretches of water. Chemistry showed me that within this world within worlds there is an even deeper world of building blocks. I had my entire understanding of biology torn apart and was enlightened in more ways in a single course than I had been in my entire life while studying dinosaurs and their environment.
Something as small as Flamingo’s not having backwards knees, that connection that vertebrates share in our bone structure that stretches from edge to edge of the Earth. Something that might come across to some as so trivial, having him show me the similarities between a dinosaur from hundreds of millions of years ago and his Golden Retriever. Such a simple presentation was so utterly profound, because he loved what he did and it seeped into every inch of that college hall.
I used to like Greek Mythology, it was something I thought was neat, cute perhaps. Then I met the Classical Studies professors at Western and I fell in love with the material. Every story picked apart, every character, every trope, thousands of years of Western Writing all collecting in the past into a point singularity.
The idea of a language tree, following language to follow the path of humanity across the planet. A new way of discovering the origins of modern humans and their divisions over time. This was presented in Classical Study and was a beautiful complement to the data in History and Biology.
The Golden Ratio, the relationship of angles, our ability to decipher the chemical composition of a star millions of light years away by shining its light through a prism. Being able to gauge the gravitational force of an object by its mass and distance from other objects.
All these things, and many more, woven into my own personal tapestry by truly talented people. Hardworking individuals in one of the most unforgiving and critical jobs to ever exist. They are not just earning a paycheck, they are sculpting the very future of humanity.
This should never be forgotten, the fundamental construct of your own unique being is tied very tightly to the education you received in your youth. We might not remember the words, the faces, or the names, but there is a transaction made between student and teacher that lasts until death.