Reported by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (RA): Once The Prophet (peace be upon him) remained behind us in a journey. He joined us while we were performing ablution for the prayer which was over-due. We were just passing wet hands over our feet (and not washing them properly) so the Prophet (peace be upon him) addressed us in a loud voice and said twice or thrice: “Save your heels from the fire.” (Bukhari)
The influence of a teacher never stops…
At an official function, the dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”
To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Sheela, Be honest. What do you make?”
Sheela, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, and then began…)
“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents CAN’T make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)
I make kids wonder. I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding ISN’T EVERYTHING.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in maths. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life (Sheela paused one last time and then continued.)
Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant.
You want to know what I make. I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
What do you make Mr. CEO? His jaw dropped, he went silent.
Frederick Douglass tells a remarkable story of learning to read as a subversive activity. As a slave, Douglass had no rights and meager opportunities. Reading among slaves was strictly forbiden as it could open worlds and create unimaginable mischief. Besides, according to their overlords, slaves had no need of reading. They could be trained in the necessary menial and backbreaking work. Yet his master’s wife, believing him to be an intelligent youngster, undertook to teach Douglass how to read the Bible in hopes that he would come closer to God. When the master discovered the crime, he exploded:”It will unfit him to be a slave!”
Education will unfit anyone to be a slave. That is because education is bold, adventurous, creative, vivid, illuminating_in other words, education is for self-activating explorers of life, for those who would challenge fate, for doers and activists, for citizens. Training is for slaves, for loyal subjects, for tractable employees, for willing consumers, for obedient soldiers.
Education tears down walls; training is all barbed wire.
Taken from Beginning Again: The Mystery of Teaching. William Ayers (1993)