Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Portrait of a Teacher

H.L. Mencken, New York Evening Mail (January 23, 1918):
A man who knows a subject thoroughly, a man so soaked in it that he eats it, sleeps it and dreams it -- this man can almost always teach it with success, no matter how little he knows of technical pedagogy. That is because there is enthusiasm in him, and because enthusiasm is as contagious as fear or the barber's itch. An enthusiast is willing to go to any trouble to impart the glad news bubbling within. He thinks that it is important and valuable for to know; given the slightest glow of interest in a pupil to start with, he will fan that glow to a flame. No hollow hocus-pocus cripples him and slows him down. He drags his best pupils along as fast as they can go, and he is so full of the thing that he never tires of expounding its elements to the dullest.

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