September 17, 2013

The Good Teacher According to St. John Chrysostom

By Demetri Karavasilis

According to Chrysostom, the good teacher inspires, attracts and persuades (MG. 57:327). They are not selfish or arrogant, nor distinguished for their authoritarian style. They have the spirit of apprenticeship, not egotism. Being humble, they are aware of their imperfections and weaknesses. They understand well that "leniency is stronger than violence" (MG. 57:61).

The educator must demonstrate a democratic spirit and respect the opinion of students (MG. 60:35-36).

They must stand before their students as simple, honest, guileless and candid. Irony and hypocrisy should be avoided (MG. 61:404-406). Teachers should not be intrusive or pushy but affectionate (MG. 62:402-403). They should surpass the affection of their student's natural fathers.

"The words" (of a teacher), says Chrysostom, must be "words of a person who educates rather than rebukes, who instructs rather than chastises, who brings order rather than exposes, who amends rather than tramples on the life of another (a student)" (MG. 61:593-594).

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.