16 September 2012

Teachers as Priests

Many people assume teaching is primarily imparting information to students. However, good and bad teachers both impart information. Three of the many characteristics that distinguish a good teacher from a bad teacher are: 1) the ability to see gaps in a student's understanding of a complex idea; 2) the ability to help him or her make the necessary connections, that is, build bridges over the gaps between facts, concepts, and ideas; and, 3) the willingness to be this bridge builder.

Often a teacher must identify where a student has not connected a fact to another important fact necessary to understand a complex idea. Other times a teacher must see where a student has not connected one or more complex ideas to each other to help build a larger mental picture of an important concept or view. These connections are mental or even spiritual bridges.

The latin word for priest is "pontifex," which in its root means "bridge maker" or "bridge builder." In this context, all teachers are priests.