Reminder from a maths teacher – knowledge is power, but wisdom is strength

By Alec Hogg

An incredible thing happened as we closed our 5th birthday celebration webinar on Friday. The man Jeanette and I knew as Mr Koch, our matric maths teacher, dropped a message right at the end, adding his congratulations. He transformed an interesting event into a memorable one. School teachers have a similar impact as bosses in the workplace. Either swiftly discarded as we move on, or remembered for a lifetime, lessons imprinted forever.

You have to wonder how today’s Mr Koch’s successors are tackling the information age. Back when I wore that khaki safari suit with badge on pocket, things were simpler. Teachers were our font of knowledge, occasionally supplemented by textbooks or a spell in the library. Today, those charged with educating the youth require different skills. Auntie Google knows all. And she’s just a click away.

But what a wonderful age for them and those in their care. Ancient Greek polymath Pythagoras taught us there are three types of people – those who pursue money; glory; or wisdom. School teachers, obviously, fall into in the third camp. Ironically, in a world where knowledge has never been more abundant, the ability to interpret it – wisdom – has never been so scarce.

Knowledge is power. But wisdom is strength. Not so, Mr Koch?