There are several metaphors that jump into my mind when I think of teaching. The teacher is the coach is perhaps the first metaphor that I can think of. The students are the athletes working together as individuals of the same team in order to have a successful season, or year
Though this is what I first think of it doesn’t take long for the negative metaphors to come to mind. I have personally had several classes where the metaphor is more closely that of a dictator in a third world country. The teacher spews information and demands the students to perform at an expected level. When they fail to perform they are then ridiculed, reprimanded, and punished. I feel that teachers end up like this after years of limited success and trying to met the irrational demands of the educational system.
A more functional means of education would allow for students to challenge themselves while being guided by the teacher like a climber on Mt. Everest. I have shared my thoughts on this with my students when I became frustrated with a lack of effort in my classes. I asked them to compare and contrast a guide with a Sherpa porter from the Himalayas. At first, they thought the two were more alike than different, then after a while they started noting that a guide leads while the porters follow and carry the baggage. I identified my desires to be the guide for my students and explained that some of their efforts made me more like the porter dragging them from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ in hopes that I could spark a desire for success within them. Eventually, I warned them that I was capable of being a dictator if they did not make positive efforts towards success.
When my students were allowed some time for discussion and reflection I began receiving work that was more comparable to a mountain climber than a couchpotato, metaphorically.