A teacher is a man who must talk for an hour.
— Ezra Pound, in (I think it was) Guide to Kulchur.
And he is, gender-exclusivity aside — plenty of women must talk for an hour too — quite right in this observation. The teacher must talk whether talking educates, or does not educate. The teacher is employed as one who “teaches” and there are all kinds of expectations that may make teaching a rather different endeavour from educating.
Not that one should take Pound at his word all the time; he was a nut. But he also claims somewhere in the same passage or section of that book that the educational quality of the French university system dramatically increased when the length of classes was reduced, I think to forty or fifty minutes instead of an hour. It’s a polemical flipping of the bird to universities and all that, but when you are next looking out into the eyes of students who seem to see themselves as empty vessels, waiting for you to pour out your vast wisdom, it’s worth pausing and asking yourself whether that last ten minutes will be educational for those students, or just a person talking till his or her quota is met.
Meanwhile, I have a cowboy story to tell… but not in this post.