In Search of the Ideal Teacher

2267 Words10 Pages
In Pursuit of the Ideal Teacher James E. McDermott 25 Blue Heron Way Eastham, MA 02642 C 508 414 5573 F 508 793 8806 2238 words Education occurs where teacher and student interact. Attention to reform, then, has to be centered on the teacher. But what is an effective teacher? What does the ideal teacher look like? False Gods Nietzsche once said that the ideal teacher looks like Schopenhauer who made him aware of the false gods of materialism, fame, position, and power. Sociologist Christopher Lasch certainly seems to agree with Nietzsche having diagnosed the malaise of the modern world to be a result of our preoccupation with false gods. Believing in the power of false gods, says Lasch, leads to lethargy, boredom, poor self-concept, unhappiness, and mindless violence – the mob mentality if the popularity of reality TV is any indication. Believing in the power of false gods strips us of our power to transcend and so we descend by trying to plug that sense of loss with jogging, health clubs, diets, chat groups, and the likes of Jerry Springer. False gods in education, Neil Postman warns, prophesy The End of Education. The end of education cannot be to produce narcissists whose only reason for schooling is to earn high paying jobs in order to satisfy their yearning for instant gratification. Clearly, the ideal teacher, then, must often wade against the current of a society where media is pervasive, encouraging passivity and instant gratification. Active thinking, creative reading, and critical writing are the crafts to carry teacher and students against the rising tide of mediocrity. In the ideal teacher’s classroom the study of the glory of our past in the arts, literature, science, history, mathematics and philosophy are relevant material, and the ideal teacher’s job is to prove that relevancy to her

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