The Greatest Master is HE who

makes the most masters.

Reef Shark surounded by fishThis post is not an attempt to gazump Fogarty's brilliant blog, the Tao of Te(a)ching even if the quote is from his guru....

and, considering how many of my posts these days are dedicated to dogme, I wouldn't want to bore anyone with more of that, even if there is one particular post in the blogosphere which is indeed annoying me - in my opinion: another attempt to justify non-student-centered classrooms.

It's also not about a completely different yet equally controversial blog post in the 'sphere... despite being rushed off my feet these days, I have one eye cocked as I vaguely watch my screen unravel an embarrassing scramble of folks killing themselves to be listed or to get their best mates listed on the  so-called "TEFL:100 the list of "influencers..." 

Ya gotta wonder. 

Ya do.

Hallo, it's 




Oh.. for heaven's sake, we're in a bubble...a micro-sized niche of education.  Get a grip - it's not Shakespeare and no one is shaking the ground, earthquake style.   Sometimes when you read through the testosterone-driven fields of our profession, you'd almost think we were writing novels, movies and competing for Oscars...


Arrogance is such a big subject in my mind at the moment.  

I talked to a dear friend over the weekend... she was telling me she got accepted to IATEFL and was pretty excited - when she told me about her proposal, I said  

What a great idea! Sometimes it's better to be a big fish in a little pond because  if you'd gone for x...  well, you could pretty much disappear in that very big pond -

and with a smirk she retorted...  

OR you'd have to become a shark.


I wonder if that's what happened to some of these old guys... 

They just had to become reef dwellers.. you know the ones I mean, the ones that can not stop talking about themselves.    I wonder if they're afraid that the current and amazing PLN of talented teachers and presenters are going to clean come and eat them up.  So silly, there's sea enough for all of us.   

But I wonder if this will wind up being us, one day - today's explorers and adventurers today - are we going to wind up in twenty or thirty years time scared out of our wits of giving up the stage to the brighter sparks?
Somehow I don't think so, though, as for the most part we have another vision - we share and we care.  And like some of my favourite folks  out there in the 'verse (Harmer, Greenall, Thornbury, Wilson) we'll join in and like them, we'll support: we'll build and we'll continue learning.

Sidebar 2
All this.. you know the Greatest Master stuff... gotta say, it was certainly something to mull over on the way home from the very best conference I've ever attended: TESOL France - Kudos Ms Cagnol - there were just so many incredibly talented presenters there and boy, what an audience!    

Active, lively, interested teachers - filled with super questions, determined to get down to the pedagogy (andragogy) behind all the flash and dash of tech.  

Engaged with the content and profession.

Except... for one old guy.  

A "master"... who hogged the stage in the evening's entertainment event.  

How much more impressed we would have been with him if instead of doing the


all night, 


he'd allowed the real talent to shine.

How much more impressed with him we would all have been if he'd help create masters...

By the way, did I ever tell you I've swum with sharks?  

Twice, actually, once by accident...  months and months later I was sitting in a pub telling some Aussies that I had loved swimming in Nara Inlet at 6 in the morning because I was the only one there at that hour and they said, you mean the place with the tiger sharks? 

And then once on purpose, off the coast of Sipadan...  and although I was initally fascinated by their focus and musculed mass I soon saw their greyness, their lack of intelligence and dead eyes,  and turned to concentrate on the incredibly beautiful turtles.  (That wasn't an analogy, btw, it's the way it was).

Hmmm... this is an convoluted post, isn't it.  I don't dare press draft though as it will disappear and become draft #53...

11 Responses to “The Greatest Master is HE who”

  • Marisa Constantinides says:
    November 29, 2010

    Not the first time I see this happen.

    Conferences seem to do that to some people.

    Rather sad really, but, luckily, there was so much energy and the vibes were so great that I have already filed that memory away.

    I choose to remember the joy of you Karenne Joy, reciting the history of the English language with such measured passion and music in your voice, Sue Lyon Jones' and Elaine's great singing voices....

    No, I don't believe the members of our PLN will ever get to be that way.

    You won't let us, I hope.... :-)

  • elizabeth_anne says:
    November 29, 2010

    lol - how to make friends an influence people.
    I was perfectly THRILLED to meet everyone at TESOLFR - the first time I'd dared present - and I felt so backed up by my PLN it was not really nerve racking at all. A caring sharing experience... maybe the notion of Master is moving over to PLN ;-)

  • Ken Wilson says:
    November 30, 2010

    I love the way your posts read like the streams of consciousness that they are - KS, you ARE the combined Hunter S Thompson/Jack Kerouac of ELT.

    Just one thought about your use of adjectives. The 'bad old guy' at TESOL France wasn't 'bad' because he was 'old'. He was just plain BAD!

  • David says:
    November 30, 2010


    As I have said more than once to those who try to wear knowledge like a crown - "he who knows the Buddha, does not know the Buddha."

    That's all I'll say - besides, enjoyed the post!


    November 30, 2010

    Hi ya Marisa, I don't think so either! We'll all having so much fun sharing, growing and learning from each other to waste our time with this sort of nonsense. I guess I was a bit fed up not to have seen Sue do her second song and then be subjected to an off-tune... what was it.. a folksong?

    Nevermind and you're right, blush, I'll keep cracking the whip!

    Hi Elizabeth-Anne,
    If I didn't tell you in person, I feel blessed to know you. It was extraordinary to feel your energy and commitment in-person and I have kicked myself several times for missing your presentation - KUDOS - for getting up and there and doing your stuff, am looking forward to catching you in action next year!
    and.. yes... I suspect the tao is getting to the sphere... :-)) as tonight's post is also on Tao - funny coincidence!

    November 30, 2010


    Blush. Blush.

    You so know how to flatter a girl you do... Hunter? Kerouac? Really?

    She titters gently and looks down with a sideways sweeping glance in an uncustomed modesty... why Sir, you think that my run-on sentences and verbal diarrhoea consist the very traces of an art...

    :-)) Ta! And you are quite right about the adjective..

    November 30, 2010

    :-) Thanks, David! I like your Buddha analogy!

    November 30, 2010

    DM'd to me.... and I loved it so much I have to add it anonymously:

    "sharks travel in packs, you know"

    ...I know.

    ...I know.

    But I just can't bring myself to care!

  • Tara Benwell says:
    December 02, 2010

    Well, I just asked you about the conference on twitter and then got an amazing answer by coming to your blog. So glad you enjoyed the conference. I was hanging out with the family on Sunday and just happened to log in to twitter. Shelly was ustreaming the open mic and I was just in time to see Sue take the stage. Then Russell who also rocked. Then um...was that the guy? I loved this post including the related story at the end. So glad you didn't throw it to the sharks.

    Note to Ken: Great call!

  • natashaBBC says:
    December 02, 2010

    "A true measure of your worth includes all the benefits others have gained from your successes."

    Cullen Hightower, salesman and writer (1923 - )

    December 02, 2010

    Thanks Natasha and Tara! :-)


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