Unsure of his teaching philosophy, the young teacher went to seek counsel from professor Juniper, the knowledgeable philosopher of the west. He asked the veteran teacher what her philosophy of teaching was. She replied, “Giving students problems to solve instead of information to absorb leads to understanding their future as a problem they can solve, not a static reality they are meant to accept.” He thought about this statement and decided this would be his philosophy. And just as he was ready to accept this philosophy, Juniper reminded him that if he wishes to fulfill his dream, he would need to develop his own philosophy of teaching.
Once again, the young teacher was left frustrated and at a halt of coming up with a teaching philosophy. He went to the philosopher of the south, professor Elm, for guidance to complete his task. Just as he had done with the previous philosophers, he asked for professor Elm’s philosophy of teaching. He told him, “Learning to enjoy the exploration of the unknown is a priceless gift. It teaches initiative, self-confidence, resiliency, and puts life experiences within reach. There is no more selfless occupation than teaching.” Desperate to complete his task, the young teacher asked the professor if he could please use this philosophy. The professor told him that he could only use it if he truly believes in this statement, and not just mindlessly agree with it.
The distraught young man began his journey east, towards his home, believing he had failed his task. He reached the crossroads that had the paths leading towards the different philosophers. Each path, he believed, should have led him towards the right answer. Then he realized what the philosophers were trying to tell him. “Teaching isn’t about showing students the path towards the correct answer. It’s about teaching students how to find their own paths to the answers they seek.“ This became the young teacher’s philosophy.