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Philosophical Meanderings

What the Teachers Are Themselves

For my blog post today, I’m sharing a recent post I wrote for, an online community for people passionate about creating a better world. Here’s an excerpt from What the Teachers Are Themselves:

“There’s a couplet by Rudyard Kipling that shines a sometimes too bright light on one of the biggest truths we educators must confront:

No printed word, nor spoken plea can teach young minds what they should be.
Not all the books on all the shelves – but what the teachers are themselves.

Mahatma Gandhi said something similar when asked by a reporter, “What is your message?” and he replied that his life was his message.

And my wise friend and the director of the Institute for Humane Education’s graduate programs, Mary Pat Champeau, has always reminded me that in our role as parents, nothing matters more than modeling the behaviors we hope to cultivate in our children. (In other words, we must not yell at our children to stop yelling.)

… There are few professions in which being a truly great human being and embodying the best qualities of humanity (compassion, wisdom, kindness, curiosity, generosity, courage, perseverance and so on) is part of the job description, but teaching is one of them.”

Read the complete post.

For a humane world,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach

Image courtesy of Gamma Man via Creative Commons.

About zoeweil

I'm the co-founder and President of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE). IHE works to create a world in which we all live humanely, sustainably, and peaceably. We do this by training people to be humane educators who teach about the pressing issues of our time and inspire people to work for change while making healthy, humane, and restorative choices in their daily lives. We also work to advance the field of humane education, and to provide tools and inspiration to people everywhere so that they can live examined, meaningful lives. I'm also a writer. So far I've written six books and several articles.


One thought on “What the Teachers Are Themselves

  1. That would be a good first week prompt for us returning teachers: what is the message of your teaching? Of your classroom?

    Thanks, Zoe –

    Posted by Chad Sansing | August 19, 2011, 9:32 am

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