Teaching

I am a teacher. To me, teaching is sharing life. This seems to be an overly broad statement, yet it covers all of the aspects of my life in which I teach. When I teach, I pass on those facts, experiences and especially questions which I have discovered over the years. I try to get my students to ask those questions, and better questions; to benefit from mine, and to share their perceptions and questions with me, so that my life can continue its growth as well. Every question from a student deserves an answer, regardless of the topic or its sensitivity. Every question leads to new knowledge and understanding, including to better questions.

I want to reassure those who are perplexed by life's questions and facts, and to trouble those who still see life as a series of stock, simple answers with no questions. When I teach, I try to get my students excited about knowledge and the process of discovery. They come to understand that the discipline required in teaching is to permit distinctions and syntheses to arise clearly. They come to understand that life is paradox; that in confining themselves to a precise study of one area of life often opens up an understanding of many other areas. At other times, they see that knowledge is indivisible and that the subject separations are only used to permit description and examination.

I try to convey the sense that I am an imperfect fellow traveler, who has experienced a lot, with much to learn and to marvel at. I often say that I feel as if I have not aged since the age of 25, except that now I have more stories to tell, and the mirror reminds me that time has past. Mencius, the great Chinese philosopher, said "Great is the man who still has the heart of a child." He meant that one should always approach life with a sense of newness and excitement for the moment.

The job of the teacher is to help another become a fully actualized, creative human being, insofar as possible, in knowledge, experience, feeling, and understanding. This personal growth includes the ability to be comfortable with change and uncertainty. The difference between student and teacher is merely that the teacher has already walked on part of the path of learning, and says to the student, "Join me in this great adventure !"