"I instruct only the passionate. I enlighten only the fervent. If a student cannot return with the other three corners of the square after I have shown them the first one, I will not repeat the lesson."
Teachers’ mistakes are no less dangerous than doctors’ mistakes, although they are less noticeable. Banality, truism, commonplace statement. Pronouncing which one, we often do not consider the critical aspect – the teacher’s right to teach. After all, mistakes are different. Someone makes a mistake once while doing a generally good deed. In principle, someone should not have the right to teach due to personal incapacity. And somewhere, the education system (secular or spiritual) turns teaching into a farce.
That is, such a definition as “pedagogical sin” has legs. This consists of the fact that by trying to teach a person by word or deed, we cause harm instead of giving benefit. Moreover, it is not only about professional teaching of something in any educational institution but also about everyday human relationships with children, family and friends, friends and subordinates.
In what cases is such a sin possible? In my humble opinion (including as a third-generation university teacher), it is primarily about the following situations:
- The teacher teaches a person at an entirely different level of development while making him suffer. There is a parable about how an eagle decided to tell a rooster about the beauty of the Earth, which you look at from a bird’s-eye view. The rooster did not understand; the eagle was surprised; nothing had changed in the lives of both. There is no pedagogical sin in this; it is a waste of time. But a pedagogical sin would occur if a rooster dreamed of flying and could not later achieve the goal (for example, seeing the Earth from the plane window) or forgetting about the dream.
- The teacher teaches the student without asking the latter’s permission. In fact, the lack of motivation to learn is the crucial reason for student failure. He who does not understand the value of knowledge will not make sufficient effort to find it.
- A teacher cannot teach because he has neither a sufficient level of spiritual development nor life experience for this. Unfortunately, this type of pedagogical sin is found everywhere because the social system has created all the economic and social prerequisites for it. High school philologists speaking in cursive, green graduate students lecturing green students – these are just touches of the overall apocalyptic picture.
So, by whom, to whom, and how can knowledge be transmitted based on what has been said?
- First, only to those who crave it. Confucius said, “I instruct only the passionate. I enlighten only the fervent. If a student cannot return with the other three corners of the square after I have shown them the first one, I will not repeat the lesson.”
- Second, to those who are ready to accept knowledge. That is, ready to pay for it not just with money but with time, strength and mental energy.
- Thirdly, only the Teacher with a capital “T” knows life existentially and not by hearsay. The Teacher that sorted themselves out as they progressed along the difficult path of self-discovery. Because “if you don’t understand yourself, how can you think about teaching others” (Seraphim of Sarov).
Only in this case the teacher will transfer knowledge as inspiration, and the student will accept it as a personal experience.