Value, respect, liking, and acceptance
For unless the teacher values, respects, likes, and accepts him/herself, he or she cannot reach out to value, respect, like, and accept the students; unless the teacher has a high opinion of him/herself, he or she cannot have a high opinion of the students; unless a teacher is sensitive to him/herself, he or she cannot be sensitive to the students (Schmier, 2016, l. 1637).
We are often told (by our colleagues during seminars and conferences or read in books) that we ought to value, respect, like, and accept students. However, how often are we reminded also to value, respect, like, and accept ourselves as instructors and educators (i.e. the people who provide education)? The quote above by Louis Schmier, an educator with dozens of years of experience, above is just such a reminder. Indeed, if the instructor who does not show a good example it is hard to educate students that when they go to the job market, they should respect and value themselves.
This reminds me of Jesus Christ’s teaching: “…how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Mt. 7:4-5, KJV). While this quote is taken from a broader sociocultural context, I believe that it is applicable to education. If an instructor does not want her/his students to be ignorant, the instructor her/himself should not be ignorant. Similarly, all the things an instructor wants to educate her/his students about to help them in their future professional or academic life should be practised by this instructor, just as the proverb says, “practise what you preach.”
Several more quotes come to mind as I am writing this post. These quotes come from different cultures and even different epochs, but all of them seem to be related to the topic. I am going to list these quotes below without discussion and if you would like to discuss any of them, please post your thoughts in the comment section of this post:
- “Be the change you want to see in people” (Ghandi).
- “Γνῶθι σεαυτόν” (Gr. for ‘know yourself’) (Ancient Greece, Egypt).
- “Once you’ve found your centre – you are sure to win” (‘Mulan’).
- Master Shifu: “Find your inner peace“. Po: “Inner piece of what?” (‘Kung Fu Panda 2’).
Schmier, L. (2016). Faith, Hope, Love: The Spirit of Teaching. New River, AZ: Booknook.biz.