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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Sacred Profession

Coming from a family of school teachers (all 3 siblings + one niece), and having done a fair share of adult education & guitar teaching, it's gratifying when I see others acknowledge the role of teachers in their lives. How many of you have taken the time to do so?

"If there is more important work than teaching, I hope to learn about it before I die". That sentence is from author Pat Conroy's 2010 memoir "My Reading Life" from a chapter devoted to a high school English teacher. Reading it, I recalled my own high school English teacher Mrs. Cavico, who encouraged me to continue writing poetry. Which teachers encouraged your passions or influenced your vocational choices?

"For me, teaching is a sacred profession." That's from Stephen Sondheim's "Finishing The Hat" (2010) and refers to the role Oscar Hammerstein played in Sondheim's early years as a lyricist. After you entered the world of work, which teachers were critical in your early development? Most of us have heard the word "mentor" used for this context. People I've known who have been acknowledged as mentors to others invariably say it has been among the most rewarding experiences of their professional lives. I'm convinced this is so because effective mentoring involves teaching. In the years I taught others about being effective mentors, the ones who "got it" often struck me as people who would have been good  teachers, had they chosen it as their sacred profession.    

1 comment:

  1. To pass along that which you have conquered yourself is truly a powerful thing. PO