Why Giving Makes Sense

This is going to be a post about teaching and about sharing. It’s a post about sharing because sharing is giving and giving makes sense. If you think about teachers and education you’ll realize that education itself is based on the idea of sharing. I’ve talked about apprenticeship before and that is based on the same thing: sharing. Sharing happens to be the only way we have for teaching and learning. Someone has to share that knowledge with you. Since human beings are not telepathic we don’t have the ability to steal other people’s thoughts in any direct way. We’re stuck with the relatively low tech concept of sharing (even if it does take place over longs distances by virtue of newer technologies).

Teachers are paid sharers… and the best teachers give generously. I wrote a while ago about the frightening reality of teachers claiming ownership (copyright) of their syllabi and all the notes their students might take during their time in the class. This flies in the face of how education is supposed to work as far as I’m concerned. How can anyone learn anything if they aren’t allowed to assimilate what they are taught into their own ideas and understanding of things.

At this point, then, I want you to think back to all of the great teachers you’ve had in your lifetime. Were they generous? Were they giving? Did they try to squash your excitement or interest in a subject by pointing out that they owned the ideas they taught you? (Are you throwing up in your mouth a little bit — because I am.) None of those things remind me of the best teachers I’ve ever had. The best teachers I’ve had encouraged me to take their ideas and teaching as a starting point for something better, bigger, different, and my own. They encouraged me to become a teacher for others. They encouraged me, through their generosity and their giving, to learn everything I could in order to give all of it away to others. In education, giving makes sense. Please give generously.