It is customary for adults to forget how hard and dull school is. The learning by memory all the basic things one must know is the most incredible and unending effort. Learning to read is probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing that happens to the human brain and if you don’t believe that watch an illiterate adult try to do it. School is not so easy and it is not for the most part very fun, but then, if you are very lucky, you may find a teacher. Three real teachers in a lifetime is the very best of luck. I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.
My three had these things in common. They all loved what they were doing. They did not tell — they catalyzed a burning desire to know. Under their influence, the horizons sprung wide and fear went away and the unknown became knowable. But most important of all, the truth, that dangerous stuff, became beautiful and precious.
– John Steinbeck, “On Teaching”
As a Teacher
In my first life as an engineer I don’t think I could have imagined a professional life as a teacher. And yet in my second life as it were, I don’t think I could imagine a professional life that didn’t include teaching at all. For teaching is a uniquely-satisfying and uniquely-significant endeavor. Almost all of my teaching has revolved around “Great Books” of one type or another, and has especially emphasized my personal interests in epics, Abrahamic scriptures and Platonic dialogues. In most cases this has entailed teaching mature adults enrolled in lifelong learning courses and young adults in undergraduate courses. Given the nature of my interests, however, it has also occasionally entailed (secular) teaching adults at congregations of various kinds.
Currently, I am an adjunct instructor at several institutions in Chicago as well as an occasional guest instructor and lecturer at Chicago-area congregations. I also teach online.
The TEACHING section of this website contains information about most of the courses that I have taught. For most courses, this includes the:
- course title; and
- course description.
In some cases, this also includes:
- course materials (such as the course syllabus).
If you can’t find what you are looking for, please contact me.