The Classroom Teacher's Philosophy
The classic joke about a teacher's philosophical attitudes concerns the teacher who worried over a particular teaching problem to the point of discussing it with several of her colleagues. She even spent some time with the principal trying to solve it, but to no avail. Finally she came in one morning and said, "I've decided to be philosophical about it. I'm just not going to think about it any more."
The teacher who says a thing like this unwittingly expresses a kind of popular sentiment about the functions of philosophy. According to this popular view "philosophy is calm and endurance in the face of difficulty and loss; it is even supposed to be a power to bear pain without complaint."11 But this attitude and the remark above are merely tributes to the enormous influence of one particular philosophy -- Stoicism -- which flourished over 2000 years ago. The Stoics made much, as Will Durant has put it, of "the apathetic acceptance of defeat." And the fact that the teacher's remark above is not totally fantastic in our own time is proof enough that the Stoic sentiment still persists.____________________