"All of the very best teachers and instructors in life know that something 'shown' instead of 'told' to a pupil, aids learning so much easier and better. Demonstration however, will never promote better teaching than inspiration can.
Whenever we think of those teachers who were our greatest instructors, they are the ones who made us feel good about ourselves and whose enthusiasm enabled us to see beyond the horizon. I remember a woodwork teacher in the technical college I attended who had this effect on me; not because he taught me how best to make a chair, but through the love of his craft, he taught me how to sit on one properly as they were fashioned to be sat upon.
While this may not on the surface seem so great a learning, believe me it was. What he was effectively instilling in me was the inspiration, followed by the vision and concluded by the mechanical construction. For instance, had he wanted his class to build a ship, he wouldn't have secured the required number of hands to carry out the labour and gather the wood; nor would he have divided the work and given the orders. Instead, he would have inspired in us a yearning to sail the vast and endless seas. You see, he knew that a good teacher is someone who makes himself progressively unneccessary in his pupil's lives.
The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery and a good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instil a love of learning. Effective teachers know how to bring out the best in us as students. They affect our eternity to the extent that their influence in our lives never stops. We never forget them. There is so much in my education that I was taught and have since forgotten, but never the lesson from my first inspirational teacher. Her name was Mrs Brennan and I was 6 years old. I can still hear her as though it was yesterday: 'There are five continents class: America, Africa, Australia, Asia and Europe.'
My mother always warned me against thinking myself too clever by half by deceiving myself that I knew it all, as there was always something new to learn that nobody yet knew about. I have always tried to practice this truth with my own children, telling myself that I cannot teach them anything they do not want to learn; I can only make them think. Whenever they come back at me in heated discussion with new ideas, I check myself and remember that we should never confine our children to the extent of our own learning for they were born in another time and should know more than us by the time they die." William Forde: August 22nd, 2015.