Teachers? We Don’t Need Teachers

Today, I was trying to convince the kids to come with me to church. (This is a long story, but basically, my kids had never been, and they had no clue what to expect.) I told them there were crafts, and other kids there, and a teacher.

My six-year-old daughter, still not convinced, said to me, without pause or concern, “We don’t need a teacher. We know stuff already.”

They know stuff already. My “teaching” and the people in their life “teaching” them is so invisible, they have no idea how they are learning. They just learn. They are learning machines. Capable, confident and enthusiastic.

So, I did manage to convince them to come. My daughter thought it was OK. Not fantab, but not horrible either. And on the way home, she said, “Our teacher was nice.”

Maybe teachers are not necessary in her world, but she’ll tolerate them. That works for me.


7 Responses to “Teachers? We Don’t Need Teachers”

  1. kgotthardt Says:


    Philosophically speaking, many of the great minds in the history of the world have all been teachers: Jesus, Buddha, Socrates, etc. When the lines are blurred so much that children do not understand the concept of “teacher,” what happens to their concept of great minds?

  2. Tammy Says:

    It’s interesting you bring up Jesus, Buddha and Socrates – these three examples of great minds are the quintessential non-teachers. They were great minds who taught that our strength and truth is found in us. It’s already there. Jesus said that God is in us all. The first buddha said we are all buddha. Socrates didn’t say the truth, he asked questions and let his students come to their own conclusions.

    I’m not sure how blurring the lines of teacher can keep us from appreciating great minds. But I do know that blurring the lines of teacher allows us to accept anyone as a teacher in our lives, and weigh equally the validity of everyone’s statements, regardless if they have the official label of “teacher” or not.

  3. Karen Joy Says:

    OK. I must beg to differ. Jesus was quite a teacher. Though he technically didn’t merit the official title, he was frequently called “Rabbi,” that is, “teacher.” And he didn’t quite say that God is in all of us. But… I didn’t come here to quibble.

    What Jesus did do amazingly was story-teach, though. Not all of his teachings were parables, but many of them were. What I think was fabulous was that he really didn’t care if everyone “got it” right then. He often told stories that left the listeners scratching their heads in confusion. He told the kind of stories that caused one to ruminate more than a little… to ponder and reflect. He told the sort of stories that one would hear (or now, read), and then, later on down the line, days — or years — in the future, one might eventually exclaim, “Oh!! So that’s what he meant!!!”

    I also find myself gobsmacked that you went to church! It’s fine: Please, by all means, go to church if you desire. I just thought you had no interest, at all.

  4. Tammy Says:

    If Jesus were in our public school system (just looking at his method of imparting his wisdom) he would be so totally fired.

    Jesus was a teacher, yes, but only if the definition of what a teacher is blurred. Like you said, he said what he had to say, then let people go to figure out what it meant for them. He didn’t make sure they understood it, didn’t have them come back later and repeat what he said, he didn’t care if people “got it”, like you said. That’s what Buddha did too, BTW. Jesus and the original Buddha were very close, taught many similar things in similar ways.

    Our kids in our modern society, when they hear “teacher”, don’t think of someone who says wise things and lets us on our way to think about them. What does “teacher” mean in our lexicon? That’s why blurring the lines of what a teacher is, opens people up to hear people like Jesus and Buddha.

    About church – it was a UU church. I like it because the reverend doesn’t tell us what to think, but gives us things to think about. And it’s an accepting congregation. I knew I liked it when after the sermon (which transcended religion in many ways, more philosophical), the congregation was invited to speak up and give their reaction. Every other week, there is no sermon, but a speaker, and the service is led by a member of the congregation. So, it’s church, but it’s not my gramma’s church, that’s for sure. 🙂

  5. Karen Joy Says:

    Yes, there are a lot of striking similarities between “pure” Buddhism and Christianity. Many of the goals are the same; the power source, however, is not. Buddhism has the power from within (within one’s self, that is), and Christianity’s power is external, from God.

    “Our kids in our modern society, when they hear “teacher”, don’t think of someone who says wise things and lets us on our way to think about them. “ I have so been thinking on this today, since reading your post (See? You deserve that “award” I gave you, the “thinking blogger” one.). It has really made me pause to reevaluate my role as my children’s teacher. I need to do more of this, more Socratic-style, questioning teaching, too. Though, honestly, I think I do the questioning “naturally” fairly frequently… and, the longer I homeschool, the less I feel a need for my kid to “get it” right now. We have 13 years to learn this stuff. It’s OK if my oldest doesn’t understand all the ramifications behind rallying all 13 colonies for rebellion against England. KWIM? Sorry. I know I’m rambling here… It’s just that, when I first started out, I stressed if my child didn’t deeply understand some point or other. Now, it’s at least beginning to be enough for me that he starts to ponder the topic; the revelation will, hopefully, come, but not likely when he’s 6, or 8, or even 10…

    Hope at least some of that makes sense!! If not, simply ponder it for a while. 😉

  6. Sunnymom Says:

    “But I do know that blurring the lines of teacher allows us to accept anyone as a teacher in our lives, and weigh equally the validity of everyone’s statements, regardless if they have the official label of “teacher” or not.”

    I completely agree with this. The traditional classroom IMO plants in our kids’ minds that only certain people with certain qualifications have knowledge or wisdom to impart.

    Most folks’ idea of teacher-directed learning is the Chalk&Talk for the Sit&Git. This is not the most efficient or effective method of learning. It is passive, does not encourage discovery, nor does it stir passion or ignite inspiration.

    Those who have not been institutionalized or have been deprogrammed have the advantage of absorbing wisdom and instruction in whatever form it comes.

    BTW- found your blog today, and love it. I don’t even know how I found it- I linked and linked and linked this morning until BLAM! Here I am! 😀

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