I don’t know who invented the pithy lie, “Those who can, do…those who can’t, teach.” But I do know that it’s time to stop repeating it.
Teaching is a skill that takes years of practice – it isn’t a matter of simply knowing the subject matter. I’ve been around my share of brilliant minds who couldn’t effectively teach, and a number who were amazing teachers without virtuosity in their subject.
The best teachers combine passion and knowledge in their subject with a skill to reach individual students – a skill reached over years of practice, study, and training.
The problem with the quote is that it compels us to think of teachers as failures – the ones who can’t make it as practitioners of their subject. It’s part of the reason our society is rapidly devaluing public education and the people who make it work.
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