Discerning “Teachers” … on the Internet

The Internet:

It is, most assuredly, the single most effective method
ever invented by man … to spread
Ignorance, Immaturity, and Viciousness
throughout the human race.

Observation alone will reveal that the 21st century
is the Age of the Instant “Expert” –

In the age of technology … ignorant men, women,
and appallingly arrogant youths
are swift to render their opinion:

No sooner do they acquire
the merest smattering of “knowledge”,
than they deem themselves qualified
to instruct others.

Those with a mind, maturity, and a conscience,
will exercise Discernment and Discretion
when considering the vast multitude of modern humanity
that set themselves up as … “teachers”.

“Men that have the clearest heads,
and have been at the greatest pains
in their inquiries to find out truths,
have brought back the clear conviction
of their own ignorance.” – John Owen

How can someone know whether a person offering advice
on the Internet … may actually be trusted?

Conscience bids me offer a few thoughts that someone
may deem worth considering …


The Internet SHOULD be a place where (real) knowledge, kindness,
and compassion can be openly shared;

where youths and machine-raised adults can be edified, learn, and be taught by,
those who know, possess skill,
or have gleaned wisdom from life experience.

DISTURBINGLY though, the Internet is often little more than a ‘soap-box’
upon which

the vain broadcast their vanity;
the vulgar, their depravity; and
the audacious, their ignorance;

and where the lazy and the immature regurgitate whatever particular rumour or error
‘fits’ with their vanity, viciousness, or personal agenda.

I have been Very, VERY aware – this past year, of the oft-repeated sentiment
that ‘this world is no place for the old’.

The 21st century is an Age in which the arrogance and insolence of youths
who can neither spell, speak properly or write coherently …
have nothing but contempt and ridicule for those who are … “old”.

On the Internet, there are, observably, two types of “teachers”
that predominate:

1. those who promulgate fancied opinion ( without care to examine
whether what they are saying is true ), and deliver their “instruction”
in a glib, ‘everyone-knows-that’ manner.

The more cock-sure such creatures are, the more they amass lazy,
easily-led followers unto themselves.


2. those who are observably domineering: who self-importantly deliver
a list of their certificates, titles, and accolades –
while regurgitating information or instruction that has been given to them;
or acquired through some purely academic course of study or “research”.

In the situation of specialised learning ( that is to say:
learning past the stage of elementary or secondary school )
– a Genuine Teacher will have NO need to Predominantly broadcast
his accolades or achievements.

Those who are … Fit to Instruct … Will Be suitably furnished for the task:
they will not appear ‘the same’
as the ignorant masses that populate the Internet.

A teacher will be Qualified by meticulous attention to detail,
insistence upon maintaining a high standard, in addition to –
the ability to communicate … Properly.

They will know how to spell;
They will be suitably qualified with Maturity;
They will voice the Humility to distinguish Fact from Personal Opinion;
and will communicate in their delivery, Wisdom –
which only comes from Life Experience.

A genuine Teacher is NOT concerned with ‘likes” “followers” or “subscribers”
he or she is there to impart TRUTH to people:
and – far from worrying about Pleasing the Masses –
will stand alone
rather than compromise the truth, his conscience, or moral decency.

The teacher who possesses the abilities to teach Will be evident
from the written or spoken word.

As in any aspect of life: give that person five minutes,
and their character will be revealed in the words and demeanour.

A genuine teacher will not shout at … swagger before … or intimidate his students.

No matter what the subject, the COMPETENT teacher will have absolute confidence IN
the veracity of his knowledge and experience … whilst still exuding humility
and a patient willingness to clarify or explain to those
who do not quite understand.

A genuine teacher ( who is one from the heart ) will have no desire whatsoever
to dominate – physically or verbally – those who come to him or her for instruction.

Vulgarity and Filthy Language will not be heard from the mouth
of any competent adult – much less, from any competent teacher.

Their joy – their real satisfaction – comes from the look on a thankful students’ face
as he understands and appreciates what he is being taught.

[ Yes, the labourer is worthy of his hire, and any reasonable fees
that a teacher receives are only right and proper.
But they are Not the motivation for the honest teacher
( who will often spend additional time with no reward ).

As far as anything taught on the Internet, No respectable teacher
should demand that a prospective student spend exorbitant sums of money
on books or equipment.

A reasonable contribution towards the production of a video presentation
is only fair (no principled person should begrudge a fair wage
to a the person who imparts skill or experience);

and while the student may (quite properly) be strongly urged
to buy this or that textbook,
the pencil and paper to take notes, will cost next to nothing. ]

A domineering instructor – HOWEVER skilled he may be –
is NO qualified teacher.

[ PLEASE NOTE … It is testament to the materialistic mentality
of the 21st century to note that – “QUALIFIED” – is NOW taken
to mean the holder of certain academic certificates.

I use the term “Qualified” here, to mean men and women who possess
the qualities of HUMILITY, PATIENCE, Forbearance,
as well as the ABILITY to SPEAK and write in such a way
as to make genuinely seeking students UNDERSTAND a certain concept.

The old Irish grandpa who has been farming with shire horses for 50 years,
is Invariably a far more … Qualified … teacher
than the deluge of degree-wielding upstarts being let loose
from many an agricultural college.

That a person may ‘cram’ and regurgitate answers on a test paper
– and so, earn an academic certificate, has NOTHING WHATSOEVER
to do with being … Qualified.

Being QUALIFIED is a COMBINATION of Ability to Teach,
Knowledge, AND Life Experience –

a concept that is utterly lost on the machine-like automations
(“I’m just doing my job”) and assembly-line mentality of the 21st century.

In the Religion of Academia, professors, instructors, and ‘professionals’ abound
… who are anything BUT teachers – as many a serious student will readily attest. ]

A Qualified TEACHER has characteristics of Humility:
Self-discipline, Patience, and the Ability to Explain.

The CONDUCT of a Teacher

Where any class is held to distribute SPECIALISED knowledge or skill,
the teacher should automatically have the respect and attention
of every student in the class.

No discipline should be required at all.

If a student disrupts the class, arrives continually late;
or displays any other indication that he ‘does not want to be there’
– he should be ejected.

Those who WANT to learn WILL be … ‘on time’, quiet, attentive,
and diligent in the pursuit of learning. Discipline will not be necessary,
amongst those who … WANT … to learn.

On the Internet, crude, vulgar, obscene, or belligerent comments
should find those who make them, ‘blocked’
and allowed to take up neither the teacher’s time or attention;
or the attention of those who are there to learn.

No competent, sincere teacher will entertain ignorant time-wasters.
Beware the “teacher” who tolerates such things.

Where blowhard bellowing and Hollywood-esque, ‘U.S. Marine Corps’ swaggering
or nose-in-the-air haughtiness is evident, in anyone presenting him/herself
as a “teacher”, one might be forgiven for imagining that

the desire to dominate,
the elation of being ‘in control’ … or
simply being regarded as ‘superior’

is the motivation behind that ‘teacher’.

May I suggest that, in such a situation, it would be prudent
for the prospective student to look for another teacher
who is possessed of patience and humility ?

The ‘teacher’ who does not possess the professionalism, self-control,
and basic good manners to refrain from filthy profanity,
is no fit guide or role model for ANY serious-minded human being
in any endeavour or field of study.

Vulgarity, crude “humour”, and obscenities betray a lack of Integrity,
Intellect, Self discipline, and Maturity.

Such an individual is no safe guide in ANY topic of significance.

A second suggestion to those seeking Internet instruction,
is to immediately be very wary of any ‘teacher’ or ‘expert’
who ‘name-drops’ so-called ‘celebrities’.

“I recommend this [ insert any item or activity here ]
because it is just like the one that [ insert celebrity’s name here ]
uses [ owns, or practices ].”

By all means, such trivia may be highly interesting, months later,
over an informal cup of tea and a lemon cranberry scone;
BUT where such a declaration is part of the ‘sales pitch’
relating to experience, skill, or teaching ability –

a discerning person will immediately become sceptical.

A good teacher will have no need to appeal to the ‘example’ of
“celebrities”, TV ‘stars’, or ‘action heroes’.

Such declarations are the domain of children who have never matured
past imitating storybook (or Hollywood, or ‘sports’, or television) characters.

DISCERN and DETERMINE the Validity of Any “Teacher”

A sound, experienced, genuinely GIFTED teacher will CALMLY impart
what he has to teach;

he will not be constantly reminding students of his achievements,
accolades, or ‘official’ accreditation.

The manner of speaking (or writing) of any man or woman,
will almost always reveal character, temperament,
and INTENT –

It is up to YOU to DISCERN the ‘tree’ by the ‘fruit’ that it bears.

As has been said elsewhere within this site:
let any man or woman speak for ten minutes
– ( simply keep quiet, and let them talk ) –
and they WILL reveal the type of human being that they are.

The loud, abrasive, cock-sure ‘know-it-all’ – ( however much knowledge he has )
– is no teacher for me.

What I have suggested elsewhere on this Internet site
with regard to companions … is equally true of Teachers:

Seek out those who are quiet, humble, and sober-minded;

Avoid those who are loud, aggressive, and frivolous.

I hope that the few thoughts offered in these thoughts
drawn from the experience of my life,
may be of some benefit to yours.

P Livingstone

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