“Those who can – do, and those who can’t – teach.”

Pic:  Natalie Williams and session musicians, playing at All Souls Church, 5th March 2010 (C) Chris Ferguson
Pic: Natalie Williams and session musicians, playing at All Souls Church, 5th March 2010. (C) Chris Ferguson

Cynically, I’ve always though this was a remarkably accurate quote of H L Mencken.  If I’m really honest, part of me wants to think that most of the teachers fit the description Mencken sets out.  The trouble is, as I get to know people, I realise that actually this really isn’t generally accurate.

Certainly there are bad teachers, just like there are bad police officers, bad cleaners, even bad cooks.  We all know of the PE teachers and sports coaches living their dreams vicariously throught their charges.  On the other hand, we all know the super-achieving parents who want nothing more than for the fruits of their loins to follow in their own footsteps.  We’ve suffered the condescending conversations when friends mock our taste or lack of knowledge because they do or know something better.  These things are all normal to encounter, and entirely to be expected.

But the reality in my life has been quite the opposite.  Many of the teachers I’ve known or been taught by have shown an exemplary passion for their subject that is rarely seen outside of the realms of teaching.  Their passion has inspired me – not necessarily to get to the top of the tree in either their own or my own fields, but certainly to find the passions that really bring me alive.

I’ve been rather quiet here of late – this much is true.  And family members and friends will have noticed their phones quieter lately than any of us would like.  For that I am sorry, and I’ll try to make an effort to reconnect this week.

Meanwhile I have had cause and time to reflect on what has been a busy and contradictory few weeks.  The long Winter’s nights and the daily grind have got me down and my energy levels have suffered terribly, as has my attitude.  But then, out of nowhere my passions have been able to be indulged and I feel like I’ve come alive again for a short while.

This week I’ve been preparing to teach two newcomers to the world of sound engineering.  And what a week it’s been.  The preparation phase was a battle of distractions whether important or not, and the day itself ran nothing like I had planned.  But what I saw through it all was the passion for what I do taking over the apparent drudgery of preparation and anxieties about how I would deal with meeting and teaching new people, for whom English isn’t their first language.

The night before the course I lead, I found myself doing live sound for a masquerade ball at church.  It was planned to be an enjoyable enough evening and I had been looking forward to it.  On the night, we ended up with a band that was quite unexpectedly good, quite unexpectedly passionate and quite unexpectedly loud.  And we all had a wonderful time.

100 or so people danced in the church and the band played for a very happy hour or so before we all had to head home.

And so at the end of the week on a quiet, cold and sunny Sunday, I’m reflecting on the time that’s been – I can see that I’ve been given the unique opportunity to both DO and TEACH.  And for that I am very thankful.

God is good™.

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