“He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman 1903

Finding the interior designer within... My wife wanted to be an interior designer when she graduated high school. Instead, she became a social worker. It's nice she can explore her past interest in decorating the classroom.

Finding the interior designer within… My wife wanted to be an interior designer when she graduated high school. Instead, she became a social worker. It’s nice she can explore her past interest in decorating the classroom. I know I as well as my students benefit from it.

“He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman 1903

This quote has been stated to me more than once in my career as a teacher.  Usually, from people who do not know me and are quick acquaintances with passing introductions.  Even a few students have thrown this quote my way usually when being taught Shakespeare’s plays.

“He who cannot teaches.”  I have never taken this quote lightly.  I was aware of this quote when I decided to pursue teaching in college.  I also realized that teaching is not about the imparted knowledge of facts and figures; it’s about learning how to teach yourself as well as others.

Building a wire curtain system... I bought some 5/16 coated wire, looped and secured it to a turn buckle, which I connected it to eye screws I placed in the wall.

Building a wire curtain system… I bought some 5/16 coated wire, looped and secured it to a turn-buckle, which I connected it to eye screws I placed in the wall. I used almost the same method for building my close line in our home.

When I first learned of Leonardo da Vinci, the artist, scientist, engineer, etc, the embodiment of a renaissance man. I was fascinated that a person could become great in so many different fields of study.  Leonardo was naturally curious and needed patrons to fund his curiosity.  When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I could never really come to one conclusion until college.  I wanted to do whatever interested me at the time.  I wanted to explore knowledge and apply it.  I too wanted to be a renaissance man.

As a teacher, I know better than anyone the limits in which I have been placed with state and common core standards, state testing, lobbyists, contractual agreements,  teacher licensing, parent expectations, and student engagement.  Every one of these entities has their own agenda and are at war with the others.  It’s no wonder homeschooling is so appealing to many.  Why do teachers begin to lose hope? After all, teachers are to be an inspiration among the tumultuous philosophical battle pulling on them from each different direction, demanding their subservience. I digress.  Teaching is for the time being my patron.

A family affair... Our son was watching Star Wars Return of the Jedi while I built my new curtain system for the classroom.

A family affair… Our son was watching Star Wars Return of the Jedi on his portable DVD player while I built my new curtain system for the classroom.

I have mentioned this in an earlier post; I am returning to teach for my 16th year.  I have no real significant retirement.  I do not make tons of money, like other professions with the same degree and level of experience.  I am constantly having to return to “trainings” to “improve” my teaching or pay for college classes out of my own pocket to remain a teacher.  I have endured; most teachers, on average, last about three years before they quit.

My best friend and helper... Krista enjoyed helping design the room. She did an excellent job and saved me hours of time.

My best friend and helper…
Krista enjoyed helping design the room. She did an excellent job and saved me hours of time.

Please do not think I am complaining; I’m not.  I am just sharing facts and educating you on a small snapshot of what a teacher faces outside the classroom.  I am happily returning to teach again this year.   I realize every job out there has its challenges, and I am in no way discrediting that.  However, the quote mentioned above… “He who cannot, teaches.”

I embrace being a learner for life; we all are.  I enjoy learning new things, that interest me, just like my students.  However, as a teacher, I also find that I am always on a tight budget. “Necessity is the mother of invention.” During our first years of marriage, the cars we owned had many mechanical issues, and we could not afford a mechanic’s rate to fix them.  I purchased a manual, research a few other texts, bought some tools, and then I fixed the problem always at a fraction of the cost.  I have trained myself through books, manuals, and questioning friends how to be an amateur mechanic, plumber, electrician, solar system installer, roofer, builder, logger, sailor, cook, poet, philosopher, teacher, small business owner, scientist, blogger, film editor (in progress), knowledgeable in power conservation and sustainable living, homesteader (always in progress), and I’m sure I am missing something else, but I think you get the point.  I may not and probably will never achieve a professional level, and would probably be made fun of by the professionals in these fields.  But, as a novice, I still enjoy learning and applying what I have learned.

Drop the curtains... I accidentally dropped the currents twice while setting them in place. The curtains were donated by the art teacher while I purchased the hardware.

Drop the curtains… I accidentally dropped the currents twice while setting them in place. The curtains were donated by the art teacher while I purchased the hardware.

I believe this quote, “he who cannot teaches” is highly inaccurate in my case.  I believe because I teach; I can teach myself to do anything.  Give me enough time and my amateur status would rise to a professional level.  But, alas, I have but only one life to live. Another saying I also enjoy, “An amateur who cares about his work is  better than a professional who doesn’t.”

Ready and willing... The classroom is decorated for the social studies classes I teach. Purposefully decorated with lots of info on the importance of our individual rights and Constitution.

Ready and willing… The classroom is decorated for the social studies classes I teach. Purposefully, decorated with lots of info on the importance of our individual rights and Constitution.

I want to encourage everyone still reading this that we are all given a great gift and that is the ability to learn and learning allows us to become more than what we perceive ourselves to be.  I am a strong believer in self-education.  Once a person has the skills to read, research, and apply basic mathematics, he or she can teach themselves anything through our vast knowledge online, the local library shelves, videos, and through the trial and error approach. Everyone has the ability to teach themselves what they need and want to know.  After all, America’s greatest inventor Thomas Edison was a self-educated man who had no formal high school education.  If I could convey one message to my students, which I do try; believe me, it would be for them to teach themselves beyond what I am teaching.  I can only cover so much material, and then it is ultimately up to the students to push themselves beyond the confines of the classroom walls.

Please share something you have taught yourself or are teaching yourself currently. I really would like to hear about it and also learn from your experiences as well.

5 thoughts on ““He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman 1903

  1. Like I always say: ” You never cease to amaze me”… You remind me so much of my Husband, in that, if he doesn’t know how to do something, he researches it, reads about it, or finds someone that does it for more info. He amazes me with what he can do, when he’s never done it before. I think the only thing he REALLY can’t do is give BIRTH,( literally)..
    I bet you are a FUN teacher.
    What I do know is everyday, it seems like I learn something NEW. We’re never to old to learn, and life would be pretty boring if we didn’t try new things, wouldn’t it?
    Hug’s to the 3 of you.
    Aunt Pat (Dawn)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post. I like that you call yourself a renaissance man-that is super cool. I think, no I know, that that attitude is essential to be able to live off grid, and do many of the things you have done. You and your family should gather up in a circle-give big hugs and do a happy dance that your approach to life is the embodiment of LIFE LONG LEARNING. I personally believe that if you can learn to learn you can do anything. Anything.

    I am currently teaching myself about human body mechanics and the basics of rain water collection and gravity fed shower systems. COOL! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a 15 year Navy vet, the first time around, (79 to 88) I was a MK46 torpedo tech, building, repairing and maintaining torpedoes. Though I was taught in a classroom, where I learned how to read and interpret technical manuals. Later in life this helped me when it came time to rebuild a trucks motor, and I can assure you, an internal combustion engine is by far more simple than a torpedo to rebuild.
    My farther was in construction most of my life, and through him I learned how to build anything from a birdhouse to a home, which has come in handy when I bought this cabin. The original cabin was only 12×15 and the guy that built it had no idea what he was doing. Since then I have added a 12×16 addition plus two other rooms that serve as a kitchen and bathroom.
    I am constantly learning new things up here, solar and wind power are all new to me, but I applied what I have learned in the past (reading tech manuals ) and can usually figure things out.
    So I applaud your thoughts on learning and what you bring to the table for the young minds you mold in your class. Keep up the good work, we need more teachers like you.

    Liked by 1 person

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