Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Teachers

I recently purchased a collection of poetry by Robert Frost titled You Come Too, published in 1959. I intend to give it as a Christmas present, but before giving away the forward caught my eye. The forward is written by a man by the name of Hyde Cox, who as a young man was acquainted with Robert Frost. Cox has some passages and phrases that particularly caught my eye.

For example, as he describes his relationship with Frost, I couldn't help but recall a certain professor of mine. Going to a university, you take classes from a variety of teachers. Some are good, some are bad, some are fickle graders, lax graders, fair graders, etc. Some are dry, some are engaging. Each one has their quirks, faults, and virtues. But the best teachers, to me, are those for whom you especially want to apply yourself. These teachers care deeply about what they teach and about passing on their knowledge to the next generation. They want you to do well and they inspire you to give them your best. When my professor sees his students apply themselves and that they are serious about music and their studies, you are no longer just a student. You have earned his respect and are considered a colleague. Cox puts this far better than I do, however, when he speaks of Robert Frost:

"With certain people older than yourself you feel that something is expected from you that you cannot give. With [Robert Frost] it is otherwise. In his company you will find yourself giving forth the best you have in you. You are all attention. You feel that he is letting you in on secrets, and he is so natural a teacher that when he says 'You come too' you go willingly. When he teaches you something, he makes you believe that you thought of it yourself. He makes you feel that you knew it all along."

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