Roger Ebert: Teacher

Roger Ebert, american film critic.

Roger Ebert, american film critic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Work is love made visible. And if you can’t work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy”

― Kahlil Gibran

Roger Ebert, one of my heroes, passed away this week. The following is a body of thought on the life of the late film critic and how he has helped guide me to be the person I am today.

Passion: Roger Ebert lived life well. He loved the written word. He loved filmmaking. He loved his wife. Unfortunately, You cannot fake passion for long. If you lack passion in your life, change. If you lack the fire to teach children well, move on.

As a teacher, treat your work as “love, made visible.” 

Communication: Ebert revolutionized newspaper, magazine, and blog writing. His tweets were a gift. His television work was monumental. He never strayed from his core beliefs in any medium.

As a teacher, find many paths to communicate your talents to as many people as possible. Reflect often and be open to change.

Love: The outpouring of grieving due to Ebert’s death signifies the love he must have shown to the people in his life. I regret never having written to him to express my gratitude for his work. Read his wife Chaz’s statement here.

As a teacher, show those in your keep and those around you how much you care for them.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (Photo credit: Articulate MediaWorks)

Productivity: Ebert was tenacious in producing consistently excellent work. He organized his life in a way that was incredibly proficient. He was never afraid to share his thoughts.

As a teacher, create a body of work that is untouchable, and then share it with the world.

Intelligence: As a child, I remember being mesmerized by his intellect.  Ebert served as a model for how one should crave more knowledge. Roger Ebert was perhaps best, when he disagreed with someone. This made for inspired television viewing. Roger Ebert taught me to ardently defend my beliefs.

As a teacher, read constantly, learn your craft, tinker incessantly and trust your abilities. Think deeply about what learning means to you.

Courage: Rarely, do people die as well as Roger Ebert. He, along with my father and uncle, taught me how to keep dignity. I feel blessed to have been able to learn from these men. If you haven’t yet seen Ebert’s Tedtalk, please do so.

English: Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz Hammel-...

English: Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz Hammel-Smith give the thumbs-ups to Nancy Kwan at the Hawaii International Film Festival on October 20, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a teacher, have the courage to live a life of integrity, regardless of your circumstances. Accept that people judge harshly, regardless.

Accept that you will make many mistakes, then move on.

3 thoughts on “Roger Ebert: Teacher

  1. Barry – I really l love this post. I am always telling my students at the college about how we must LOVE what we do and do it passionately.

    • Cherie,

      Thanks! I’m planning a blog posting right now on passion.

      Modeling passion is a habit in my practice. Very tough to quantify, however!

      Thanks for all your retweets. You help me out a bunch.


      • Cherie.
        By the way,
        Which college? I’d be happy to set up a Skype session with your students. I spoke to future teachers from the U of Maryland a while ago and it was time well spent.

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