Mentors, Not Teachers
If teachers don’t have much to offer in the way of knowledge since we’ve got the entire world at the palm of our hand, does that mean they’re entirely useless?
No, at least not when they act more like mentors and less like teachers.
For example, I often reach out to my mentors not because I have a lack of knowledge, but because I am unsure of where to go to find the knowledge for myself (which is usually what they did—largely because they, too, were failed completely by “education”). In this way, my mentors are facilitating my learning rather than spoon-feeding me information that they think I need.
Not to mention, if they were spoon-feeding me knowledge, I would be largely averse to listening to them because I have no stake in my own education. I’d just be following their prescribed path for no reason other than the fact that my “mentor” told me to.
This is applicable to two groups. First, to the teachers reading this: You need to be more of a mentor to your kids than a teacher. Your value no longer lies in being able to teach them but to guide them. Your students need someone who can show them the resources and develop curricula on the fly, not simply apply the same “tried and true” system to process a bunch of students through the classroom. Mentor them by introducing them to other mentors who do what the student wants to do. Show them the material that they will find interesting. Find ways to provide it and keep them excited about their learning.
As for us students, we can’t expect our teachers to immediately transform into mentors for a variety of reasons. (Namely, that they face backlash from their superiors that prohibit them from doing the right thing and changing their classrooms for the better.) So, we’ve got to seek out our own mentors and learn from them.