It is not enough to say that a philosophy teacher presents students with counterpoint to their customary ways of seeing things. A teacher in philosophy is not necessarily very profoundly philosophical for that reason, nor need he or she be. The teacher may be only a few leagues ahead of the students, and may frequently find that a superbright student will tax his or her supposed mastery of the issues. To be honest about these relations and difficulties, I have always assumed that as a professor I was no more than an exemplary student, and "mastery" was merely a way of gaining momentum, not declaring the race was over. Self-mastery in philosophy is how one orchestrates the energies to be able to dislodge really prodigious monolithic belief-systems. It is by no means any kind of self-congratulation.