I’m in a dilemma here. It’s my fourth attempt to write this post. I have no problem to think about what makes a teacher great. The problem is thinking about great teachers makes me think about my father and I didn’t want to write again about him. I tried. It sounded cold and lifeless.
My father taught in a Journalism School and most of my colleagues remember him as a great teacher. Even today, 12 years after his death some of them known journalists in Spain are saying he was the best teacher they remember, because he taught them to live not only subjects.
And he knew about what he was teaching. He taught Ethics in Journalism. Before that he had endured a concentration camp for refusing doing propaganda for the communists against his conscience. And the pro fascists authorities closed his newspaper because of what he published in it. He was independent and because of that, prosecuted by everybody during WWII in what is now Croatia. Most of his students in Spain didn’t know about that. I knew. He taught also Literature being himself a writer and he explained the other writers work in such a way that after his lectures people rushed to the library to read them.
He was always available to his students, listening at them, talking to them, no matter how long it would take, to the point we were jealous. As one of his students, Carmen Ripa, remembers:
“his classes were tranquil, calm, serene. I learned a lot from him, both personally and professionally, because, as he said, “a media professional is one who dedicates himself to the service of others”. He taught us in such a way as to make us want to learn, not just to pass examinations. That passing an examination was a momentary victory, but learning in itself was for a lifetime.” (…) Don Luka has left and gone to heaven, leaving behind a portion of his wisdom and learning, and the example of the goodness of his heart that never transmitted an ounce of hatred. And forgiveness. I have taken to heart a comment he once made which reflects his personality; “every day of my life I have struggled in a positive way against hatred”. He was always Don Luka, perhaps because we never spoke informally to our professors, or maybe because he was simply a great man.”
He was a great man, a great father, and a great teacher.