Teaching, and other lessons | VailDaily.com

Teaching, and other lessons

Bernard Shaw once said, “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” What nonsense! Doing and teaching are totally different activities. The talented person generally does not know why he or she does what they do and therefore cannot readily transmit this knowledge to others. A teacher, on the other hand, acts as a middleman between learner and expert. The teacher needs to understand motivation and have the ability to translate and transmit information to others.

Awhile back I attended a parent-teacher conference at Battle Mountain High School with my SO’s daughter and it was quite a learning experience for me. From Mr. Bullock, the principal, to each of her teachers, I found commitment, energy and supportive attitudes. When I was the CEO of an insurance agency in Denver, I could only wish to find people with such attitudes.

Too often we blame the child for not learning when perhaps it’s the teacher who should be examined. There’s an old proverb (Chinese I believe) that says, “If the student has not learned, the teacher has not taught.”

Good teaching is a skill, yet too many of us believe that anyone can be turned into a teacher at a pay level that would insult most of the population. Good teachers bend to reach someone; they don’t pull to lift them. When we find a good teacher we may not be able to raise their salaries, but we can always lift their spirits by letting them know about the job they are doing.

Our schools are criticized for any number of deficiencies, but I suggest that if our schools spent a little more time teaching self-discipline and respect for authority, many of the “deficiencies” would just disappear.

n Many of today’s college students are a bit misguided. The focus at four-year colleges and universities seems to be on finding a job when the student graduates. However, the real danger is not missing out on a job after graduation, but missing an education before graduation.

I once read that fixating on the “super job” after graduation is the worst thing a college student can do. A student’s overriding concern should be how to develop as fully as possible their basic human birthright, i.e., the power of imagination, their ethical and moral responsibilities, their sense of aesthetics and introspection and a knowledge of cultures other than their own.

An “education” should be the pursuit of human excellence, not the pursuit of excellent salaries.

n A friend once told me, “If you need an alarm to wake up, you’re not getting enough sleep.” Medical studies prove that people who nap during the day are really sleep deprived and aren’t getting enough sleep at night. It is also counter-productive to sleep-in on weekends because the regular early morning cycle just begins again on Monday morning. Many doctors advise that going to bed earlier, not later on the weekends would be a better solution to sleep deprivation.

n Razors don’t wear out from a rough beard. They wear out because they’re not cleaned properly after using shaving cream. Try rinsing your razor thoroughly with water and then leave it in a container of alcohol until its next use. You may find that this simple practice will increase the life of your blade three-fold.

n Being concerned about the environment without displaying an equal or greater concern about world population growth is akin to trying to put out a fire with one hand and squirting gasoline on it with the other.

n What does it say about our penal system that the recidivism rate for criminals is so extraordinarily high that the best chance a first-offense youthful offender has of being rehabilitated is not being caught in the first place?

n The formula for a successful TV sitcom goes something like this: women are smarter than men, kids are smarter than women, and animals are smarter than all of us.

Seems comedic, but let’s take a quick look at just one aspect of life – spectatoritis – the “art”

of watching rather than participating in athletic endeavors.

This may not be the case in our little corner of the world because one of the reasons people live here is because it’s an athletic person’s paradise. But have you ever noticed how the vast majority of American men who if they are not talking business they’re talking spectator sports?

One of the reasons for the obesity problem in the United States is that sports on TV exercise only our eyes. Think about how much passion is built up during the World Series and NFL, NHL and NBA playoffs. Grown men can become almost fanatical rooting for teams that bear absolutely no indigenous relation to the city whose moniker adorns their uniforms.

Maybe TV sitcoms have hit upon something. Women spectate far less than men, kids would rather be outdoors playing football than watching it on TV, and animals couldn’t care less. Perhaps that’s why obesity doesn’t affect our pets as much as it does us.

n When someone doesn’t have expert knowledge in a given field, he or she will make a point about their “common sense.” However, common sense is practically useless and can even be dangerous when dealing with uncommon problems or pursuits.

n By definition an oxymoron is rhetorical statement in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined. EXAMPLE: “Oxymoron” – Removing the Ten Commandments from the courthouse while making people in court swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, “so help you God” while their hand is on the Bible. Go figure!

Butch Mazzuca of Singletree, a local real estate broker and a ski instructor, writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz@centurytel.net

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