Your Calling as a Teacher

One of my favorite lines from classical literature is this brief quote from Socrate’s Apology:

For I tried to persuade each of you to care for himself and his own perfection in goodness and wisdom rather than for any of his belongings, and for the state itself rather than for its interests, and to follow the same method in his care for other things. Pl., Apologia 36c

I think that if you’re a teacher of any subject, at any level, this is your calling. Even in the sciences, teaching somebody to be the best rather than to make money, is your calling. This is not always easy and school has almost no connection to the concept of schole (σχολῇ) which constitutes the etymology and the alleged philosophical foundation of our education system.

Anyway, getting students to know things is one thing, but challenging them to think seriously about taking the reigns of their lives is another entirely. You partly do this precisely by making them learn your material. But also by taking personal interest in their development.

2 Comments on “Your Calling as a Teacher

  1. my Aspie-girl was in special ed from the beginning of kinder on, so i worked with lots of teachers and specialists and admin, and those who are truly great at what they do are not even in the same atmosphere as those who aren’t. they can’t even be compared. and those who are truly great don’t ‘get’ it b/c it’s so natural to who they are. i loved writing Letters of Commendation for those truly great teachers at the end of the school year – addressed to their principal and super and cc’d to them … as a gift and a way to show them how much i valued and appreciated a truly great teacher.

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