The Teacher & The Stolen Watch

An old man meets a young man who asks:

“Do you remember me?”

And the old man says no. The young man then tells him that he was his student, and the teacher asks:

“What do you do, what do you do in life?”

The young man answers: “Well, I became a teacher.”

“Ah, like me” says the old man.

“Well, yes. In fact, I became a teacher because you inspired me to be like you.”

The old man, curious, asks the young man how he decided to become a teacher. And the young man tells him the following story:

“One day, a fellow student, came in with a nice new watch, and I decided I wanted it and I was able to steal it from him when he took it off and placed it on his desk. Shortly after, my friend noticed it was gone and alerted our teacher, you, who immediately addressed the class: ‘This student’s watch has been taken during class today. Whoever stole it, please return it.’

I didn’t give it back because I didn’t want to. Then you closed the door and told us all to get up and that you were going to search our pockets one by one until the watch was found. But you told us to close our eyes, because you would only look for his watch if we all had our eyes closed. So we did, and you went from student to student, and had them empty their pockets. When I emptied mine, you found the watch and took it.

You kept checking everyone’s pockets, and when you were done you said ‘open your eyes. We have the watch.’ You didn’t say anything to me and you never mentioned the episode. You never said who stole the watch either. That day you saved my dignity forever. It could have been the most shameful day of my life. I decided right there and then that I would never do anything like that again. You said nothing to me, nor even scolded me or took me aside to give me a moral lesson.

Nonetheless I had received your message clearly. And thanks to you, I understood what a real educator needs to do. Do you remember this episode, professor?

And the professor answers: ‘I remember the situation, the stolen watch, which I was looking for in everyone’s pocket, but I didn’t remember you, because I also closed my eyes while looking.’

This is the essence of teaching:

“If to correct you must humiliate; you don’t know how to teach “

Credit: Unknown Author

Italian: Il vecchio professore e il furto dell’orologio – Massimo Ferrario

Domenica di primavera: un sole tiepido, un’aria dolce che accarezza.
Il vecchio è seduto sulla panchina del parco, la faccia seminascosta da un quotidiano che sta sfogliando.
Il giovane che gli sta passando davanti, lungo il vialetto di ghiaia, gli lancia uno sguardo distratto, più colpito dai titoli del giornale che dal volto del lettore.Improvvisamente si blocca. E si gira, per osservare meglio. Ha un colpo al cuore: è lui, non c’è dubbio. Fa tre passi indietro e si ferma davanti al vecchio, fissandolo negli occhi. Il vecchio, intento nella lettura, non può non accorgersi e abbassa il giornale, anche lui guardando l’uomo: che vuole da lui? 
L’uomo non si trattiene. «Ma è lei», esclama stupìto e pieno di una gioia improvvisa. Mentre il vecchio ha la faccia sempre più interrogativa, lascia trascorrere qualche secondo: un po’ per essere sicuro di non sbagliare e un po’ per lasciare tempo al vecchio di riordinare la memoria.
Poi ripete a voce alta, anche parlando a se stesso:«Non c’è dubbio: è lei.»
Il vecchio fa cadere il giornale di fianco sulla panchina. «Ci conosciamo?».L’uomo sorride. «Certo che ci conosciamo. Lei è il professor Bellamico, non è vero?». read full story

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