Chapter 13: Never Quite Enough

  • Tom FlanaganEmail author


In this short, retrospective reflection, Flanagan writes personally about the “chronic aspect of dissatisfaction involved in university teaching.” Reluctant to speak about dissatisfactoriness in the teacher-student relation as “suffering,” Flanagan instead characterizes it in Platonic terms as a “nagging ache, a sort of unfulfilled desire,” or eros. After having carefully scrutinized the disjunction he identifies between our intentions as teachers in the things we teach on the one hand, and what is gleaned or grasped by our students on the other hand, Flanagan helps readers to see how what initially appears as a personal failing on the part of a teacher might, in actuality, be unexpectedly related to positive contributions, insights, and achievements made by our students later in life. Flanagan’s thoughtful personal narrative demonstrates how the dissatisfactoriness in teacherly eros is connected to the cultivation of appreciation and goods that transcend our pedagogical powers, including the stated goals and deliverables of course curriculum or content.


  1. Flanagan, Tom. Persona Non Grata: The Death of Free Speech in the Internet Age. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2014.Google Scholar

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CalgaryCanada

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