Life Is Very Difficult

May honest folk proper.

One teacher, one friend and one book. (503 words)

Let me tell you a story of my apprenticeship as an English teacher. When I began my career as a teacher of English, I was eighteen years old. I didn't say I wanted to be one, but I was asked to by a teacher of the cram school of which I was a student. He was not a full-time teacher of English. He was a doctoral student of philosophy but he was the manager of the English teachers of the school. As for me, I hadn't decided to major in philosophy yet. Having nothing more interesting to do, I accepted to work as a teacher. The first thing I did was to attend the class of the teacher and observe how he did his job: how he wrote on the blackboard, how he talked to the class, how he explained the grammar and so on. I thought I would be taught how to give a lecture more directly. But there was no chance for it. He seemed to trust my potential as a teacher and take it for granted that this learning through observation could make me a decent one. So he didn't tell me anything about teaching but showed me a model to follow. Besides, he often took me to izakayas and talked with me about this and that. I remember talking to him about my college life and he always gave me a witty and humorous piece of advice, along with telling me about his experiences. He also showed me a model of a man which philosophy can help us be. This relationship cannot be called otherwise than an apprenticeship.

As a matter of fact, I learned from him everything that was needed to be a teacher. But what was more impressive was what he told to the class. "Perfectionism leads to laziness." "If you don't translate it into clear Japanese, you don't understand it in the first place." "We must not dismiss what other people are engaged in. It is dismissal alone that has to be dismissed." and so on and so on and so on. But the most impressive thing he told the class was a quotation from a book of a philosopher. I don't exactly remember it but it was to the effect that those are happy who have met in their life one teacher, one friend and one book. Having introduced it, he went on to say, "What is admirable about this quotation is that he said nothing about a lover or a partner." I remember grinning when I heard him say this because I had recently broken up with a girlfriend. 

Looking back now as a philosophy major, I think I may say he is my "one teacher" I have met in my life. I would not have decided to specialise in philosophy if I hadn't met him. He is now a professor at a university. I hope one day I will be able to talk with him not as an apprentice but as a philosopher.