What would you say if someone asked you, “Based on your experience, what is the most important strategy in your teaching?” It might be tempting to say, “Love the students,” but we’re supposed to do that anyway.
The first thing that occurs is love of the subject being taught. One might argue though, “I have had teachers who obviously loved their subject but who could not communicate it.” Communication can be learned, however, whereas love of a subject is not a method, but is an ardent interest. The fascination with how something works can fill a room, whereas Information cannot do that, or at least, we do not want it to.
If a teacher can project the magic of desire, then desire has a chance to sprout its wings in a student. Once desire takes hold, desire leads the way to knowledge.
In school, a professor told our class, “We are here to prepare you for a lifetime of study and to give you tools to do that.” This statement, made almost forty years ago, has crossed my mind countless times. It is not what you know, but that you know how to know.
Teachers who love their subjects likely cannot help but exude their constant sense of being stretched to reach for more. They are never satisfied, but neither are they frustrated by that. Instead, they are pleased that what they know is partial. This does not keep them from going all out, or from mastering various principles or procedures. It’s just that new principles and procedures get discovered.
Therefore, I would say, “Love your subject, and enjoy the infinite ride.”