The soul of any worthwhile pedagogy is the teacher’s desire and determination to lead by example. Educators cannot inspire a love for learning in others if their own hearts haven’t been enraptured by that very love. One must know what it means to caress an idea if he or she has is to have any hope of conveying it with conviction.
Before wisdom can be imparted, it must be embodied. We embody wisdom when we cultivate a visceral understanding of what it’s like to be moved and transformed by ideas; when we can say with sincerity that we have tasted the experience of being provoked by literature and enlightened by history; when we can teach art and language because we have been genuinely inspired by art and empowered by language; when we can teach math and music with the empathy of one who has been tortured by math and intoxicated by music; when we can communicate philosophical concepts from a place of having been challenged and comforted by those philosophical concepts for ourselves.
The teacher’s relationship to the mind of the student should be nothing less than an extension of the relationship he or she has to their own sense of wonder, to their own process of wrestling with the great questions of life, to their own life-long practice of coming to grips with the problems, paradoxes, and pleasures of learning.
We are not here to stuff facts into people’s brains. We are here to encourage, by the example of our own affinity, humanity’s innate passion for understanding the world.