Just picked up this great quote on teaching from Rough Theory:
“…the first thing I learned as a teacher was that nobody is a good teacher for everybody, which I found a very bitter lesson. Slightly later in life I learned the corollary, which I found even worse in a way – that just about everybody is a good teacher for somebody. You meet these incredible klutzes, and it turns out there is somebody out there for whom they have made all of the difference. This observation led me to conclude that teaching is not a method, it’s a name for a whole group of social situations in which all kinds of things happen and about which it is not possible to say anything really very useful on a technical level.” – James Renfield
I can attest to all of this, including the further corollaries that we all look like incredible klutzes to someone; exactly the thing that makes us good in one situation makes us lousy in another; and being someone’s most favorite teacher unavoidably means being someone’s least.
Does this mean that “it’s all good?” Not by a long shot. But it does suggest that a certain diversity of teaching approach is a desirable thing, if not in individuals then certainly in departments and schools.