The Latin root of the verb educate means “to draw out” or “bring forth.”
Teachers illuminate the subject matter, but they also bring something forth from the student. They draw knowledge out, not dump it in.
It’s a different way of understanding the verb and a teacher’s role in the classroom. It changes everything: how I teach, what I expect, and what constitutes the goal of our interaction. Drawing out means there’s some glorious and wonderful thing inside a mind that I want to bring to the light.
I’m on a treasure hunt; I’m on a deep sea dive; I’m on a fishing expedition.
“To draw out” a person–bring them to the surface–means I cast the line, linger patiently in those deep waters of the mind, and wait until the nibble comes. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it reminds me of the work of drawing any person out. Marriage, parenting, friendships, work relationships, and even encounters with strangers might be deep sea fishing and diving expeditions.
Wouldn’t our dates, our dinner conversations, our seminars, and our book clubs be richer if we were all deep sea divers into the mind of another person? What a privilege to learn from you! What a privilege to draw something out of you!
I suppose that’s why I want to be a teacher, not just with students, but with every interaction. I want to draw out and not dump in.