Teacher #1 has a vision. In it he sees his students living lives of justice, charity and truth. It is this hope that moves him to stay up late at night preparing lessons that will enter the hearts of his students. By keeping his ultimate goal in mind he is able to patiently negotiate the faults, foibles and problems that his students are burdened with. And his yearning for a better world gives him the energy to persevere and to succeed.
Teacher #2 has a vision in which he is idolized by his students. He recognizes that if he motivates his students to be better and more virtuous people, they will look back at him with reverence and fondness. This hope motivates him to sacrifice himself for the advancement of his students. This vision of self-aggrandizement gives him the strength to make himself into the saintly teacher that he is not. And this yearning for honor and glory gives him the energy to persevere and to succeed.
It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between these two teachers. Both of them are paragons of virtue and patience. Both are excellent teachers and both are revered by their students. Perhaps it is not always productive to discover the difference between these two teachers. If the teacher is doing his or her job, why should we care about their motives?
But in most cases, Teacher #2 will not be able to hide his agenda. His attitude toward other teachers of virtue might give him away. His demand for undue honor might reveal his heart. And his resistance to criticism might tell us what he is trying to hide.
We could also look at the respective students of these two educators and learn the hearts of the teachers. Both teachers will have students that focus on the virtue they taught. And both teachers will have students that focus on the person of the teacher as opposed to the content of his message. It will be the statistics that give it away. And when you look at the numbers, you realize that it might have been productive to distinguish between Teacher #1 and Teacher #2.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal