Friday, October 2, 2009


Excerpt from The History Boys: The Film (Screenplay by Alan Bennett and Nicolas Hytner, adapted from the original stage play by Alan Bennet; New York: Faber and Faber, 2006).

Mrs Lintott (played by Francis de la Tour--that's de la Tour above on the right)

" . . . One of the hardest things for [students] to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them."


1 comment:

  1. Hello there:
    Well I would agree with part of it-- the portion where it says that "One of the hardest things for [students] to learn is that a teacher is human." I think that is very true!
    Sometimes there are students who idolize a teacher--think they are the bee's knees! For teachers, to be able to 'deliver' on that is impossible. Yet, from what I've seen (both of the teachers I've had and those that I'm acquainted with in my personal life) is that most teachers will *try* to deliver. Therein, is the problem. I think most teachers spend a whole lot of time thinking about how to be better teachers--the problem is not them.
    The problem is the student.

    Which is where I disagree with this statement. I don't want (as a student) for my teachers to try to be something they aren't. I don't want them to try to be super-human and never make a mistake. Sometimes, the danger of putting a person on a pedestal is that, inevitably, that person *WILL* fall and someone is going to get hurt when they do!

    Teacher's are human. They make mistakes. Ahhhh, they are not infallible and they are not demi-gods in their realms. They are people. They eat too fast, burp too loud, use swear words and yup--even fart on occasion! :)
    They are real.

    This---is, to my opinion--what makes a teacher remarkable: not that they are perfect--but that they are not and yet they love so very perfectly!

    For me, I know that from time to time--it may seem like I am asking my teachers to go wayyyy out there on a limb and to deliver the goods for what I figure I have paid to learn! In being an older student, I ask them not to condescend to me. In being a hard of hearing student, I ask them to understand a condition that one can't understand completely, without BEING. Thing is, I don't want them to deliver that to me--at least not really.
    What I want the most--is for them to SEE ME. TO see that despite my age, despite my handicap, despite my rather cynical outlook on life from time to time--that I have something special about me, that makes me worth their time. I want them to make a mistake and own up to it--just like me. I want them to laugh with me and tell an off color joke and use a swear word so that I don't feel so damned incompetent! :)

    So yes, sometimes I think as students we need to remember that these are people just like we are. And as teachers, I think that they need to remember that they don't have to be perfect.. just... love perfectly. Give, and let me give back. Speak and listen, too. Understand that I am not perfect, I don't have that 'degree' yet, but my life experience has given me a PhD from the School of Hard Knocks and I could teach a class on "how-to survive" in many ways.

    Let's grow together--and share together--and be human together. That's what I think my thoughts are on this topic. Yes, my teacher's are human. I give you permission to be human. Yes, though I am a student, I will sometimes teach *you* a thing or two.. so please, let me do that and give me the honor for that job. But above all things--remember that I am still a student, and when I look at you--I see all that I would like to be!
    You are the "end of the rainbow" for my walk in academic life, you are the inspiration--the heroes, the giants, the good guy (and sometimes the bad guy too!) but when I look at you--I see greatness. So, when I fail--when I foul up--when I think I know it all then prove myself miserably wrong--just remember, how you respond--is how I will one day respond to my students.

    So no, don't be 'perfect' just be... You.