The Teacher Being Surpassed by the Student

I was in class on Saturday thinking about how nice it would be if an article of mine on was used as a piece of “teaching material” – i.e. quoted in class, or perhaps in the lecture notes.

It was then that a recollection of “some saying” hit me, something about the aim of a teacher is  to have students surpass him or her in skills. Well, a Google search has just confirmed I was imagining such a saying (apparently teachers don’t really care about students surpassing them in skill.)

But I did come across a Chinese saying that goes like this:  青出于蓝而胜于蓝 qīngchūyúlánérshèngyúlán, which literally translates to “blue comes from the indigo plant but is bluer (vivid) than the plant itself.”

Two things I learned: that the Chinese have some very nice and poetic sayings (well, I’ve actually known this a long time); and that I want to be that teacher who seeks to have students whose skills surpass mine.

I’ve always dreamed of having a team of data workers (data-analysts, engineers, scientists) working under me technically more skillful than me, even when hired they may not have been so. To build a Manchester United of data science within the company (my dear employers, are you reading this? Excited?! I am.)

As an aside: For even more dramatic effect, make that the Manchester United of the 1950-1960s under Sir Matt Busby. The one whose team was just about wiped out in a plane crash in 1958 on their way to the finals of the European Cup, only to return ten years later to win it. I love that story.

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