An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Are Nice Teachers Good teachers?

teacher.jpgIn several studies, a radio program host said yesterday, evaluations of the teachers in schools tracked strongly along the grades students got from the teacher. Which meant that the teachers who gave consistently high grades to the kids were evaluated as better teachers than those who didn’t. That was an interesting observation.

Let’s do a small test. Let’s try and remember our favorite teachers from school and colleges. The teachers whom you rank as your favorites – try and see if they were also the ones in whose class you got good grades? DId those teachers favor you in any way?

Conversely, do you remember the teachers who gave you bad grades much? Even when they were correct in doing so?

Let’s take this further. How about your boss? Do you remember the boss who wasn’t so good to you, even though her/his behavior ended up helping you out in life later?

We like only those who like us. For life in general, that may be fine, but when it comes to growth and learning, that may not be that good a deal. And when this is extended into spiritual growth, one finds the same behavioral trait. We run away from those who make us uncomfortable with their sharp questioning. We like “Saintly people”. Those who tell us good things. Whether it is a book like Secret or Modern day Gurus like Steven Covey or Deepak Chopra. We like those who say “good” and “nice” things to us. Those who challenge our entire being or those who destroy us internally completely are unpalatable.

J. Krishnamurti gave his pathbreaking speech – “Truth is a Pathless Land” – when he was merely 24 years old. He categorically told a large crowd of Theosophists – who were ecstatic that they had found the 3rd Great World Teacher after Buddha and Jesus – that he was dissolving the Order and would refuse to play “teacher” anymore as “Truth” has no path. What was an honest admission and a statement of utmost clarity enraged the entire crowd! Those who were swearing to follow JK now cursed or abused him! How could he refuse to play a teacher?!!

JK died a heart-broken Master. He was undoubtedly an Enlightened Soul. He had experienced the Truth and was trying to disseminate the rigor of intellect that was required to go there. One of the very few in history of mankind who have attempted that path for spiritual enlightenment. It is not an easy path, and usually it ends up creating many enemies. And despite the compassion that JK was capable of sharing, he didn’t find anyone ever really “got him”. Most ran away from him, because he made them uncomfortable. And those who came close to him, treated him like an entertainment piece. Either way, he failed.

But many FAR lesser “teachers”.. absolutely pedestrian compared to him have had far greater following with such intense devotion. Even if most of it is a big pretense! What do they offer for such a reward? Soothing noises. They make you feel good. Nothing you do can be bad. Look at Joel Osteen. Does he ever tell anyone the “Truth”? Can he? He loves to put a positive spin for everything. I have taken “a” name. But most are like that.

All these have used the same correlation model that studies have indicated at.

But just as the easy grading teachers lower the level of the students’ final performances in the higher classes, Spiritual teachers who offer just niceties or everything cloaked in “goodness”, without hard pills and truth, don’t help one go far as well. Unless the teacher can push the student, the student doesn’t go very far.

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