It’s back-to-school time, so here’s a lesson about teaching that I learned from a dear colleague in 1994, my first year as a professor. It’s expressed here as a sonnet, entirely in words of one syllable.
Junior Faculty Once, in my first year on the job, I said, "How fine, my friend, that you let no one fail! How hard you work to see them all well read!" My friend, to teach me too, then told this tale: A man goes to a farm and sees a boy Who drives the pigs to where the peach trees grow. The boy hauls up each hog, and it has joy: It pigs a peach and eats it neat and slow. "It's too bad," says the man, "a pig can't climb! I see, with how you feed them, they grow big. But can't you find a way that takes less time?" The boy says, "Sure -- but what's time to a pig?" If that sounds good to you then you might be Cut out to teach, like my friend -- not like me.