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Teachers Open The Door Essay

Teachers open the door but you must walk through it yourself. – Chinese Proverb

The teacher opened the door, but are you willing to walk through it and see what is out there?

What does that mean?
The world is a big place. There are many things to do, and many places to visit. But what if you don’t know about it, or have fears or worries about what you do know?

This is where a teacher can be helpful. They have been outside your limited world. They have seen, done, and learned things you don’t know or understand.

The teacher can help you understand, and help you calm your fears. They can point out where and when to be cautious, and when and where to let go and have fun.

But after the teacher has taught you, it’s up to you to actually go out and do it. The teacher has opened the door, but only you can take the step through the door.

Why is taking the walk through the door important?
To me, learning from a teacher is fine, but it has the same limitations as looking out a window. Yes you can see much, but you can’t really experience it. That may be a good thing when watching tigers or sharks, windows are quite useful in those circumstances.

But for most things, book learning and viewing through a window are just a glimpse of what is there for you to experience. A smell instead of a taste. A bit of mist, instead of the full sea spray. You can read about sailing, but nothing is the same as standing on a heaving deck while hoisting a sail.

And that walk through the door opens up so many other experiences. The recollections of your experience will come back the next time you read a book about the sea (think Melville or Hemingway). Even TV shows have a greater impact when you have experienced some of the subject matter, instead of just reading about or listening to a teacher.

Just remember, we don’t have to walk through the door. We may find out something we thought would be fun really isn’t all that interesting. It’s fine to decline to cross the threshold. But we must also realize that it is our choice and our responsibility to choose to walk, or to not walk thru the door.

Where can I apply this in my life?
How you apply this quote to your life very much depends on how much you get outside. Not outside as in the great outdoors, but how often you leave your comfort zone. How often to you try something new? How often do you find out about new things and give them a try?

If you do it a lot, you are probably already living the quote fairly well, at least in some parts of your life. What about the other parts of your life? Do you try new food? Do you travel? Do you try new games? Do you go new places in town? Do you make new friends? There are many different doors in our lives, right?

By nature, humans are uneven. We excel at some things, but not at others. There are probably areas where you don’t even wait for a teacher to open the door, but instead, kick it open yourself and charge through. There are probably a few other places where you are much more likely to just look out the window.

For me, climbing things has always been a kick-the-door-open kind of thing. Whether it was trees, rocks, cliff faces (small ones), I rarely hesitate. On the other hand, I am very particular about food. Some people love to try new things, whereas I rarely do. That’s just me being uneven. How about you?

What doors could you walk through more often? What could you do, but choose not to? Is there a reason, or have you just made a habit of not doing? Do you want to change any of these habits? What would you like to do, rather than just learn or hear or smell?

The choice is yours, and you can always choose to reverse yourself if you don’t like what is happening. Part of being educated is noticing what happened and taking a moment to consider (or reconsider) what you did, and if you are willing to do it again. Sometimes once is enough, right?

A new week awaits, what are you interested in doing? What doors will you open and walk through?

From: Twitter, @Sports_HQ
confirmed at : kind of pointless to try to source a ‘traditional’ proverb, right?
photo by Georgie Pauwels

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"Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself” is a popular proverb that has been printed on many gift items, such as posters, T-shirts and bags. “Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself” has been cited in English only since 1956, when it was included in the book Chinese Proverbs from Olden Times (1956) by Peter Beilenson. The proverb was printed in several newspapers in 1968 and is now included in many collections of education sayings.

The proverb means that a teacher can introduce a student to knowledge, but the student must apply that knowledge himself or herself.


Wikiquote: Chinese proverbs
Transliteration (pinyin): Shī fu lǐng jìn mén, xiū xíng zài gè rén.
Traditional: 師傅領進門,修行在個人
Simplified: 师傅领进门,修行在个人
Meaning: Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
English equivalent: You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.

Google Books
Chinese Proverbs from Olden Times
By Peter Beilenson
Mount Vernon, NY: Peter Pauper Press
1956
Pg. ?:
Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself.

8 May 1968, Amarillo (TX) Globe-Times, pg. 44, col. 2:
Chinese—“Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself.”

Google News Archive
13 June 1968, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Shop with Sue,” pg. 5, col. 6:
Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself.

8 September 1968, San Diego (CA) Union, pg. C-2, col. 7:
Teachers open the door—you enter by yourself—Chinese Proverb

18 April 1979, St. Albans (VT) Daily Messenger, Supplement, pg. 8, col. 4:
“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.” Chinese Proverb

Google Books
Meaning in Children’s Art:
Projects for Teachers

By Edward L. Mattil and Betty Marzan
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
1981
Pg. 2:
Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.
CHINESE PROVERB.

Google Books
Proverbs from Around the World:
1500 Amusing, Witty, and Insightful Proverbs from 21 Lands and Languages

By Norma Gleason
Secaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Group
1992
Pg. 117:
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
Chinese

Google Books
Quote This!:
A Collection of Illustrated Quotes for Educators

By Diane Hodge
Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
2008
Pg. 32:
Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
Chinese Proverb

Google Books
A Tribute to Teachers:
Wit and Wisdom, Information and Inspiration about Those Who Change Our Lives

By Richard Lederer
Chicago, IL: Marion Street Press, LLC
2011
Pg. ?:
Teachers open the door, but you must enter yourself. -CHINESE PROVERB

Google Books
Chinese Proverbs and Popular Sayings:
With Observations on Culture and Language

By Qin Xue Herzberg and Larry Herzberg
Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press
2012
Pg. 16:
Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself.
[lit.: The master leads the student through the door, but perfecting one’s skill is up to the student.]
{A teacher can only expose students to knowledge; then it’s up to the student to work hard to learn what he or she has been taught.)

The Beijinger
The Lighter Side of China: The Idioms’ Guide To Chinese
Submitted on Apr 25, 2012 10:00am by Scott Kronick
(...)
And the idea of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink” is practically identical to shifu ling jin men, xiuxing zai geren (师傅领进门,修行在个人). In other words: “A master can lead you to the door, but you must rely on yourself to cross the threshold.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York City • Education/Schools • Tuesday, December 18, 2012 • Permalink


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