Thursday, March 08, 2007

Flash from the Past: "...expelled from his first school..."

He was..."a juvenile deliquent. He was expelled from his first school in his first school in Dundas, Ontario after a series of pranks which included locking a flock of geese into the school-room over night, unscrewing all the benches and desks and hiding them in the attic, and shouting disparaging remarks about the headmaster through the keyhole of the classroom...(At a second school), he proceeded to organize a trio of trouble-makers who were baptized "Barrie's Bad Boys..." The list goes on, including theft, some jail time for smoking out the school matron's room with a mixture of molasses, mustard, and pepper..."

But reform for this delinquent came from inspiration rather than further punishment. A weekend School Warden took packs of boys on trips that included collecting nature specimens and reading English literature by the fire. He was hooked, and he was to transform into one of the world's most beloved and inspirational teachers - Sir William Osler.

From the Osler Library Newsletter:"The impact of (Father) Johnson's unconventional and informal style on Osler was electric. ...It was Osler's first exposure to what he later came to define as "real" teaching- teaching about the real world, teaching by doing, teaching by example rather than coercion."

Osler was to develop into an unconventional teacher, the most famous physician in the English speaking world, author of the highly influential book, The Principles and Practice of Medicine, and a revolutionary and beloved teacher and clinician who first brought medical student teaching to patients' bedsides and continues to inspire students and physicians today. Read the Newsletter article if you get a chance - it's marvelous.

Another tidbit: Osler's advice to professionals who wanted to know how to avoid deadening by routine: 1. The Art of Detachment (self-discipline to resist the drift into routine), 2. The Art of Method (the habit of having know-how and systematic approach to tackling problems daily), 3. The Quality of Thoroughness (standard of exact and careful work), 4. The Grace of Humility ("humility to recognized that the truth is hard to attain, that mistakes must be acknowledged, regretted, and above all, learned from.").

Osler continued to have a lot of joy in living and a big heart for other people his whole life long. One of many memorable Osler quotes:"We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it."

Osler The Eternal Student (Newsletter)
Sir William Osler's Writings on the Web

Osler Quotes
Wikipedia Goose

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