Optimism and Teaching
The three aphorisms below represent, to me, a creed for everyone who teaches, and not just those who work in schools. It’s everyone in a position to influence others, and assist them to improve in some way. The three aphorisms can apply to everyone in an “ing” role – teaching, parenting, leading, coaching, mentoring, supervising, doctoring, counseling, pastoring. The aphorism attributed to Shackleton is worth pondering as the foundational virtue of anyone who would be a teacher in this broader sense.
Optimism is true moral courage
(Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer)
Trapped in drifting polar ice, Ernest Shackleton and his crew fought for survival. When their ship Endurance was crushed and sank, they were stranded on ice-floes for more than a year before reaching Elephant Island in April 1916. From there Shackleton and five men left the rest of the crew to embark on the most remarkable rescue mission in maritime history. They sailed in a small open boat to South Georgia across eight hundred miles of the world's roughest seas. He guided a ship back to Elephant Island and rescued the remaining crew members. Every man who set sail from England on the Endurance in the summer of 1914 was saved. The mesmerizing book Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica (J. Shackleton & J. MacKenna) takes the reader beyond the myth of Shackleton the man who believed optimism is true moral courage.
Teaching is the greatest act of optimism
(Colleen Wilcox, educator)
Everyone is a teacher to someone
(John Wooden, teacher & coach)
Everyone, everyone is a teacher. Everyone is a teacher to someone; maybe it's your children, maybe it's a neighbor, maybe it's someone under your supervision in some other way, and in one way or another, you're teaching them by your actions (Wooden, videotaped interview, February 12, 2002)."
No written word, no spoken plea can teach our youth what they should be.
Nor all the books on all the shelves, it's what the teachers are themselves.