My friend, pattytoo posted about having a very good teacher. The teacher said what seems like the ideal of what teaching can be if the teaching to student ratio is low enough:
One of the most helpful things she said to me is that she wants me to put 0% effort into worrying about failure, and 100% effort into pushing myself to the bleeding edge of my capabilities and beyond AND failing often. She said that if I turn in safe work and she doesn't send it back to me covered in red, then I'm disappointing her. She wants to have the chance to see how much I can really absorb, and she needs me to fail at things so that she knows what areas to work on with me. She wants me to get it right, but she fully expects me to get a lot wrong first… and said that a great predictor of whether or not I would be good in the future in this area is whether I become good at knowing what I actually have down and what I'm stretching myself to understand. She said that she and I would both fail only if I learned how to write convincingly about things while not understanding them.I know far too many people that fit into that last bit. Here's to there being more teachers like that and those teachers having the time and resources to be able to teach like this.