The great teacher

Once upon a time there was a great teacher. Not everyone knew she was a great teacher. She didn’t even know herself. But trust me. She was excellent.

The teacher was wholly devoted to the goddess of knowledge and scholarship and wished to serve her. She searched high and low, here and there. She searched everywhere to find the secret to serving her mistress, Education.

One day, she came across a hermit. This hermit lived in a deep cave in the middle of the wilderness. A very quiet place to think.

The teacher asked the hermit to tell her how to serve Education.

“There is a great river,” the hermit said. “People have been trying to cross this river but are perishing. You could carry them across.”


The teacher was big and strong and an excellent swimmer. She took wholeheartedly to her assignment and carried hundreds of people across the river. She picked them up on one side, set them down on the other and wished them well on the rest of their journey.

The teacher carried on with this task for many, many years.

One day a small child was found waiting on one side of the riverbank.

“Can you carry me across?” the child asked.

“Of course! I will help you on your journey as I have helped so many others.”

The teacher picked up the child and placed her on her shoulders. The child was so light and small but for some strange reason as the teacher moved into the more dangerous part of the river, the child became heavier and heavier. So heavy, in fact, that the teacher struggled for her own survival, barely making it to the opposite shore.

Breathless, the teacher set the child on the sandy bank and collapsed down beside her, gasping for breath.

“You are such a small and slight thing. Why were you, of all people, so heavy? You nearly killed me.”

“It is because I, dear teacher, am Education. I am the goddess you serve. While you were carrying me, you bore the trials and successes of not just one child, but were helping every student: adult or child. You were bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders.

“I am not just one classroom, one school, or one university. I am not just about making a performance based policy. I am not a pedagogy or a behaviour management plan.

“I am all of those things and I am none of them.

“I am the only sensible solution we have for a planet so flawed.

“Please, dear teacher. Do not ever bear me alone.”


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