I can’t remember the first time I heard this, but I think it was at an education conference about three or four years ago. A wise man was on stage, talking about the challenges of teaching. Eventually he told us that ‘teaching is harder than brain surgery’. Why? ‘Because count up the number of variables at work. A brain surgeon works on one person, under anaesthetic, using a procedure she will have practised many times. A teacher, on the other hand, teachers 30 conscious children, each unique, each with their own behaviour, prior knowledge, personal circumstances and so on.
Yet one has to think about this for but a moment to realise that teaching cannot possibly be harder than brain surgery.
We have been successfully operating on brains only very recently. A century ago, putting yourself forward for brain surgery was as good as suicide. Indeed, the odds of living…
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