An old Asian proverb hides right up the teacher’s sleeve.
Give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; you feed him for a lifetime.
That’s why today when a ninth-grader asked me a simple question from her homework, one that I knew was hidden in the lesson we completed two days ago, I grinned and said nothing.
“Why bark if you have a dog?” That’s how my mom said it. And I knew it would then be worthless to ask her to do something I could easily do myself.
A teacher is not an answer key. He is a question box. And while I will gladly do the work required for me to teach effectively, I will not do for my student what he or she was sent to school to do.
Students learn by digging; and by digging they learn to learn. This kind of learning will last a lifetime.
Sometimes it’s even one better to get them to teach.
After school on Fridays this winter, we’ve been having a kid’s club. Children from the village come to sing, have a Bible lesson, eat a snack, listen to a story, and go home again.
My students teach. And it’s been a delight for me to sit back and watch. The first evening I walked away and grinned from ear to ear all weekend. Give a girl a classroom, and she blossoms.
Give them a fish, and you feed them for today.
Teach them to teach, and they may be poor all their lives.
But they will be happy.