I came across a quote that was not attributed to anyone when I read it: “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
I looked it up and found that it was actually a quote from Aristotle – the Greek philosopher and scientist (hopefully most of you remembered at least that much from your own schooling!). At 18, Aristotle joined Plato’s Academy in Athens to pursue a higher education under Plato’s direction. His time here proved him to be an exemplary scholar, but he did not inherit the position of director of the academy when Plato passed away. Aristotle also tutored Alexander the Great, giving him access to a number of resources. He was able to create a library and school in Athens, called the Lyceum. It was here where Aristotle spent most of the rest of his life – teaching, studying, and writing.
Aristotle, along with Plato and Socrates, is known to have laid much of the groundwork for western philosophy. His views on physical science shaped the work of medieval scholars. Some of his zoological observations were not confirmed (or refuted, as it were) until the 19th century. He is often regarded as the “first genuine scientist in history” and his works contain the first known formal study of logic. The world as we know it would look profoundly different if it weren’t for three parts of Aristotle: his teachers (Plato and Socrates), his students (Alexander the Great), and Aristotle himself. It’s interesting to remind ourselves – that we are all teachers, and we are all also students. And particularly on the teaching point, at least to me these days, our children are learning from us every day – from our language, from our actions, and from our behavior.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. When we are learning something new – whether we are 6 years old or 60 years old – it can often be hard, it can often be overwhelming, and it can often be frustrating. But in the end, our hard work in obtaining that piece of knowledge (whether big or small) leads to better things. It was a good reminder to me, that our 6,000 students may struggle at times, but it is our duty, and collective responsibility to help them persevere so that they may eventually enjoy the fruits that education has to bring.