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It’s easy to run to others. It’s so hard to stand on one’s own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can’t fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It’s easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It’s simple to seek substitutes for competence–such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.
Whatever sense of professional competence we feel in adult life is less the sum of accomplishment than the absence of impossibility: it’s really our relief at no longer having to do things we were never good at doing in the first place – relief at never again having to dissect a frog or memorize the periodic table.
Witness the American ideal: the Self-Made Man. But there is no such person. If we can stand on our own two feet, it is because others have raised us up. If, as adults, we can lay claim to competence and compassion, it only means that other human beings have been willing and enabled to commit their competence and compassion to us–through infancy, childhood, and adolescence, right up to this very moment.
Love is a chemical reaction, but it cannot be fully understood or defined by science. And though a body cannot exist without a soul, it too cannot be fully understood or defined by science. Love is the most powerful form of energy, but science cannot decipher its elements. Yet the best cure for a sick soul is love, but even the most advanced physician cannot prescribe it as medicine.
There is a great need for a new approach, new methods and new tools in teaching, man’s oldest and most reactionary craft. There is great need for a rapid increase in the productivity of learning. There is, above all, great need for methods that will make the teacher effective and multiply his or her efforts and competence. Teaching is, in fact, the only traditional craft in which we have not yet fashioned the tools that make an ordinary person capable of superior performance. In this respect, teaching is far behind medicine, where the tools first became available a century or more ago.
The game’s finest mistakes were perpetrated by Djimi Traore, who interrupted his general competence with one air shot, one slice over his own head and a foul so telegraphed that even the lenient referee seemed to have his card out a couple of seconds before contact was made, to show the first yellow of the game.