The Best Teacher

It is hard to find a good teacher. Good teachers have flavors, like chocolate cookies. They have laughter. They sometimes have comfort and they sometimes they do not have comfort, like a strenuous soccer coach. Sometimes they have tears. Sometimes when someone does something that actually helps, the tension you have been holding in yourself releases like a rubber band coming out of shock.

Even though people learn a lot on their own, blossoming in neglect, given time to explore on their own without being interrupted by helicopters and micro-managers, even so, good teachers are nice to have. Self-learners, if you really prod, will smile fondly when talking about some strange person or conversation or somebody’s way of approaching a problem that made an impression on them and caused them to stop and think about something they wouldn’t have otherwise thought about.

But what do you do if you really want to learn something but you just can’t master it? When you go to the library and take out books on a subject and are so excited and interested but your eyes droop and boredom and pain set in when you start reading. And everyone raves about the author or the approach but you just don’t get it. And you stumble year after year with a subject that you wish you learned in school but you aren’t in school anymore. Where do you find a teacher?

Unfortunately, odds are against you that you will find a good teacher, especially when you aren’t in  school. Even when you are in school the odds are against you.

You are going to have to cobble together a teacher from the assortment of people and media around you. The IRS agent who audits you will teach you things; consider the penalty you pay to be a tuition. The boss who humiliates you by reminding you constantly of your mistakes; realize that you are gaining more out of the humiliation than your boss is – after all they have to suffer the fact that they hired the wrong person; you, on the other hand, are growing in your knowledge. The random conversation you overhear that exactly explains some concept you have failed to learn over the years from dry books – here is your chance to jump in and get some back-and-forth dialogue going.

The best teacher, absent a good teacher, is persistence. It is hard to find a good teacher.