Teaching My Students to Be Truthful and Kind
(Minghui.org) Ancient Chinese wisdom says, “A teacher should not only impart knowledge but also exemplify virtue.” While teachers have the responsibility to teach practical skills and knowledge, they should also pass on the moral codes and traditional values of our culture.
With the rapid decline in morality in China, however, everybody is preoccupied with money and self-interest. Very few college students listen in class, with the result that teachers are doing a poor job preparing for their classes. They reason, “Even if I make great lesson plans and teach really well, nobody listens in class. Why waste my time?”
How can teachers teach the students effectively if they don't know the material themselves? The students find the lectures boring and become even less interested—it’s a vicious circle. As a matter of fact, many college graduates nowadays don't have the skills and maturity to hold down a job.
When I stand in front of a class I often feel sad, because I don't see the future of our nation in this group of young men and women. I often ask myself, “As a practitioner of Dafa and a teacher, what can I do to help restore the moral standard, so that teachers can play their traditional role as described by the ancient sages?”
Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is like a light in the darkness that has guided me to be a good teacher, to always do my best when I teach, to help the students, to be kind and care less about self-interest, and to guide the students to become more open-minded.
Doing My Best as a Teacher
When I first started teaching, I discovered that my students were not all on the same level academically. Many didn't have a very solid foundation and had a hard time understanding the material I was teaching. So that they could truly benefit from the class, I made changes to my lesson plan along the way, and my workload increased several times over.
I told my students, “I am starting from the very basics, and if you pay attention in class, you will understand it. Even if you just learn one thing in my class, it's progress.” I use simple language and interesting stories to explain abstract concepts, and applied the ideas to solve real life problems. The students’ interest in the class was piqued.
As we covered the basics, I started adding more material into my lessons and the students felt that they had learned a lot by the end of the semester. A colleague told me, “The students loved your class. Many of them read textbooks from your class during my lectures.” I smiled and said, “I will ask them not to do that in other classes.”
One student told me before graduating, “Your class was the only one that I never ditched in all four years of college. Why can't other professors be more like you?” Another student said, “When we worked on our thesis, you went over our papers over and over again. Other professors don't even care. My roommate's professor only met with him a few times before his thesis defense. You are such a great teacher.”
I tell my students, “I am not here to just teach what’s in the textbooks—that is limited. I want to show you how to think and how to approach similar problems. This will be helpful when you join the workforce. If I don't teach you well, I will be responsible for mistakes that you make later on. You also have to be responsible and take what you do seriously in the future.”
A student visited me a few years after graduating. She told me, “I remember visiting you at your home when you had just had a baby and were on maternity leave. You went over my thesis with me over and over again while holding your newborn in your arms. I remember that vividly. Thank you so much for all your help. Now that I am a teacher myself, whenever I face my students, I think of you and I treat my students the same way.”
I have passed truthfulness and kindness on to my students and, through them, on to even more people.
Broadening the Students’ Minds
Besides knowledge and practical skills, I try to broaden the students' vision and encourage them to have an open mind. This universe is immense, yet our current science is so limited. Atheism and the theory of evolution have limited human thinking and made humans more and more selfish and arrogant. They do whatever they please, without considering others or nature.
In fact, many of the findings in science today contradict atheism and evolution. In the course of my cultivation in Dafa, I have truly come to realize how small and ignorant humans are. I often give simple examples to show my students how misguided atheism is. In this immense universe, there are countless galaxies and planets—how could humans be the only creatures in this universe?
What I teach in my lectures is often beyond the textbooks, and my students are greatly interested. I told them, “Modern science is so limited—you'll never be able to see the whole picture. Don't think the things you learn today are never going to change. One day in your research, you may just find that it's completely wrong. A wise scientist and researcher should have a humble attitude, an open mind, a healthy fear of nature, and an appreciation for all things.”
Being Kind and Caring Less about Self-interest
Dafa has taught me to be kind and considerate. I’ve tried to always follow the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I once criticized a student because she wasn't paying attention while doing her lab work. She cried. Afterward I really regretted what I’d said to her. True, she had her problems, but I wasn't being kind. Since then, I have always reminded myself to be kind to others.
Nowadays, it's so common for people to fight over personal gain. One time, my supervisor was getting ready to apply for a grant that would benefit our research project. He was not happy with the defense draft and asked me to work on it. I had only one night to turn it around, so I stayed up until four in the morning and finally got it done. He was very happy with it.
We won the contest and got the grant, but my name was last in the credits. A colleague thought it was unfair: “Have you seen it? You did all the work but didn't get much credit.” I smiled, “It doesn't matter. Somebody had to do the work.” There were many incidents like this, but they never bothered me much.
One of my colleagues told me, “You are doing an excellent job. You don't care about fame or self-interest, and are kind and honest. I have never met anyone like you who always puts others first.” I told her, “If you see how good I am, you'll know how good Dafa is. I just try to live up to Dafa's principles.”
By competing over self-interest and personal gain, many people, including some educators, lose themselves. I feel like the lotus flower that grows out of muddy water, but stays clean and pure.
I am only one of the hundreds of thousands of Dafa practitioners who, in our day to day conduct, are living examples of the goodness of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance.