Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Unknown Teacher

"I sing the praise of the Unknown Teacher," wrote Henry Van Dyke, himself a teacher. "Great Generals win campaigns, but it is the unknown soldier who wins the war. Famous educators plan new systems of pedagogy, but it is the unknown teacher who delivers and guides the young. He lives in obscurity and contends with hardship. For him no trumpets blare, no chariots wait, no golden decorations are decreed.

"He keeps the watch along the borders of darkness and makes the attack on the trenches of ignorance and folly. Patient in his daily duty, he strives to conquer the evil powers which are the enemies of youth. He awakens sleeping spirits. He quickens and communicates his own joy in learning and shares with boys and girls the best treasures of his mind. He lights many candles which, in later years, will shine back to cheer him. This is his reward.

"Knowledge may be gained from books; but the love of knowledge is transmitted only by personal contact. No one has deserved better of the republic than the unknown teacher. No one is more worthy to be enrolled in a democratic aristocracy, 'King of himself and servant of mankind.' "

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