Teacher or Instructor?

Teacher or Instructor?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Which one are you?

 If you learn only methods, you’ll be tied to your methods, but if you learn principles you can devise your own methods  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Let’s look at the definition of both.

Definition of TEACH

1a to cause to know something b: to cause to know how c: to accustom to some action or attitude

2 to guide the studies of

3 to impart the knowledge of

4a to instruct by precept, example, or experience b: to make known and accepted

Definition of INSTRUCT

1 to give knowledge to

2 to provide with authoritative information or advice

3 to give an order or command


Perhaps if you look closer at each definition you will start to see more clearly who you are or more importantly who you want to be. According to the definitions set forth by Merriam-Webster Free Online Dictionary, there is a major difference between the two. Teaching, by definition involves guidance, example, and mentoring. This type of activity requires a deeper level of both knowledge of the subject matter and care for the student. Teaching requires investment, on a personal level, by the teacher into the student. Instructing, on the other hand, appears to require no investment or deeper level of care for the student. The definition of “to Instruct” simply states that the information be authoritative and that it can be given by “order or command.

So which one are you? Which one would you like to be? Perhaps you need to be both.

Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing. ~ Albert Einstein

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