Ultimately for myself, I think that to become a ‘great educator’ and a ‘great teacher’ is one of the apex forms of success.
The great educator
If we consider the great legacies of the great photographers of the past (Henri Cartier-Bresson as the GOAT) — why? Henri was the father and educator of all the photographers who came after him. Even if you think about Magnum — it is the legacy of Henri Cartier-Bresson and to a lesser extent, Robert Capa. HCB in short, was the great educator… in which all we photographers (to some extent) are inspired by.
Even when you think about Leica, and the Leica M camera … essentially the reason we want the Leica M camera is that we want to *become* Henri Cartier-Bresson. The myth of Leica is the myth of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Similar reasons why people get RICOH GR — to become Daido Moriyama.
What does it mean to become an educator?
To become an educator means:
To be so over-rich with plentitude, knowledge, ideas and creativity — that you cannot help but *NOT* share it with others.
For example, Nietzsche talks about this in his ‘Zarathustra’ book– the mythical Zarathustra sage (after living for 40 years in isolation and philosophizing in some cave) becomes over-sick and over-weary from his ‘oversupply of honey’ and goes down from his mountain down back to man to share his honey with others.
In simple words:
Your knowledge is your honey, and it is your great joy to share this honey (wisdom) with others.
What does it mean to become a great teacher?
To become a great teacher means:
To guide (facilitate) the growth, expansion and the creative spirit and soul of your students.
The best teacher has no ego, which means– you strive to do what is best for your students, not yourself. This means knowing that you are not the storehouse of knowledge, you are simply the motivator.
When I was at UCLA and took a honors seminar on pedagogy (Kumiko Haas) I learned, you are not a ‘teacher’, you are a ‘facilitator’.
Or in other words:
Teach others how you would like to be taught.
Or the Via Negativa concept:
Don’t teach students how you didn’t like being taught as a student.
For me — I always liked it when teachers would *encourage* me, and ask me questions: “What do *YOU* think ERIC, and why?” Nobody likes being lectured and talked at. We prefer the ‘Socratic Seminar’ style of learning– where our thinking is challenged (critical thinking, solo thinking).
Share your wisdom and experiences
The big thing:
The best wisdom to share is your own personal experiences.
What does it mean to be an ‘expert’? One with experience.
First principles thinking
To become a great teacher and educator means:
Always challenge the basic notions of ‘common knowledge’.
For example, there tends to be lots of ‘rules’ in photography. The best thing rather than to simply take this as wisdom is to look and stare at this knowledge in the face and ask yourself:
Is this really true … all the time?
What is a ‘rule’ anyways?
So the notion of a ‘rule’, comes from ‘ruler’ (literally, a king who rules you). And then the question:
Do you want others to rule you and your thinking and way you do creative things, or not?
The best way to teach photography:
Take examples, and de-construct them, and help your students *think* and see like you.
And ask and challenge them —
Why do you like the photos, *WHY* do you think they are strong and effective?
To promote life and growth. No future children, no kids, no education … no future for humanity.