Do Those Who Teach Really Teach Because They Can’t Do?

I just watched the LA Kings win the Stanley Cup. When I watch an NHL team win the Stanley Cup I get emotional, regardless of which team wins because it’s the Stanley Cup and the Stanley Cup is the most prestigious trophy in all of professional sports.

Photo credit: AP/Huffington Post

The Stanley Cup is also the most coveted trophy in the world because hockey players work harder than any other professional athletes to win their sports’ top trophy.


Watching the players kiss the Cup, with a tear in my eye from empathy for what the Kings players must have been feeling at that moment, made me think of people who teach.

Weird, I know, but for some reason I’d been thinking about teachers all day long. And during this moment of jubilation over winning La Coupe Stanley, as they say in French Canada, I couldn’t help but think of all those who taught the players, at various stages in their careers, about the game of hockey.

That saying about teachers and doers

You’ve probably heard these sayings about teaching and doing:

“Those who can’t, teach. Those who can, do.”

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

I’ve got a thought on this:'t

My experience has been that the best teachers are those who have done or are currently doing. And as it relates to marketing, three people I have learned from are three people who have done and have done better than anybody else:

Gary Halbert, Brian Clark, and Wil Reynolds.

The only way to be the best teacher is to keep being the best student.

Respect for the teachers who do

If you’re a teacher and a doer, I want you to know you’re a hero to many. And especially to me. So this post is dedicated to all you who teach and do. I get it. I understand it. I respect it. And I thank you for it. And remember:

“Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach,” said those who can't do either.

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  • Michael Arnes

    Man this is good. My parents were teachers and didn’t get much respect. My dad said he often heard that line about people teaching because they can’t do and it hurt. He became a teacher after retiring early from a big engineering company in Seattle. He was successful and he did it and wanted to mentor the next generation. I’m sending my parents your post they will appreciate this. 

  • Sunita Biddu

    I am again here and your posts come thought provoking David. I’d love to add you to my trusted and interesting resources :)

  • Tom

    Hey David—I’d send this on a contact form but I can’t find one. You misspelled “Copywriting” (“Copywritting”) in your footer menu. Just thought you’d like to know that :)

    • David Cohen

      Well that’s embarrassing. Thanks for letting me know, Tom, appreciate it. I’ll never win awards for grammar, that’s for sure. Cheers.