Sunday, November 7, 2010
DO NO HARM. TEACH
Sometimes attempts to show people HOW, is really an attempt to show them UP, and what could have been impressive and even helpful is marked by arrogance. One does have to demonstrate to teach--one need not show off. Turning a class or group of people into an audience while one uses one's proficiency as a weapon to shame an individual is so unnecessary. One can help another person be and do better without being offensive, rude and resorting to ridicule.
When people are in need of a door to be opened, whomever is in possession of the key would do well to skip any unnecessary preliminaries. No one cares how shiny it is, where it was cut, or how many other keys are on the ring. When people need help, they don't need to be reminded of it. There's no need to discuss how the door got locked or how the people managed to get on the other side of it. They know the position they're in. Exposing it further, and delaying their entrance is the action of a jerk.
What, and how much one knows can either be embraced or shunned, depending on how one shares the information. How much one knows is not nearly as potentially admirable as how the information is used. "Look at what I can do" sounded funny when "Stuart" said it on Mad TV. It just sounds pathetic as a self-absorbed individual botches a teachable moment.
Humiliation is a very poor teaching tool. The student may recall the day and the hour, but the lesson that could have been learned is forever lost in the muck of embarrassment. Any level of expertise had to be achieved, and paces vary. When you become proficient at a thing, thank God. Patting oneself on the back or belittling others with less skill is so unnecessary. There's no need to deliberately expose how inadequate one is, by exalting our own abilities. Good teachers are concerned with the prospect of grooming others to carry on. Good teachers revel in the excellence of their students. Know how to do something worthwhile, well? Show someone else. It's good if a student can not only remember and apply a lesson, but maintain respect for the individual who taught it, as well.