Tuesday, October 09, 2018
As is the case with many people, my life has included a cadre of fine teachers and a gunny sack of some terrible ones. In-between is a large and forgettable mixture of mediocrity but the bold extremes provide indelible memories.
The great ones had a major influence on my life and, oddly enough, so did the terrible ones. The influence of the latter mainly rests in their expanding the knowledge - quite helpful to a future management consultant - of how organizations can retain and promote stunning incompetence over an extended period of time.
I don't recall a single instance where a principal or dean ever visited the classrooms of those wretches. If they'd done so, the need for corrective action would have been apparent and thus their absence may reflected purposeful evasion. Several of the instructors had such widespread reputations for ineptitude that even the local hermits must have heard the rumors.
One common characteristic of the great teachers, of course, was a passion for the subject. It is often said that extraordinary instructors bring subjects to life and I agree with that assessment. I owe a continuing interest in the French Revolution, constitutional law, Shakespeare, and Russian history to some outstanding people who not only knew the material but knew how to teach it.
The bad teachers also left a mark. They taught me how not to teach a subject.
Posted by Michael Wade at 4:00 AM