Pearls before swine

April 27, 2013

Sometimes in frustration a teacher, let’s say, feels hurt and indignant that their students aren’t paying attention or open to the lesson.  Maybe the teacher is even fearful that without the learning, something painful will occur.  Maybe the teacher feels inadequate or disappointed that they will not be the one to witness that break-through moment of understanding by the students.

Some teachers become frustrated, even if it’s only in the teachers’ lounge or to their family at home.  “Pearls before swine” I think is a phrase that might reflect one, fairly bitter, version of this.

But the error is in thinking of the teaching as pearls or the audience as swine.  The teachings are insights we have from our own perspective; our real mission is to help the audience get to the point where they have them, too, on their own, for real — not merely agree with them on faith — really take them in as a part of their reality.

And, more obviously, perhaps, the people in the audience are not swine.  If they have difficulty learning, then perhaps we are being invited to learn to become more effective teachers.

Otherwise we’re all going to get stuck in some kind of interaction that doesn’t go anywhere and devolves into teacher and audience disconnecting completely.


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