Yes, there's unmatched valued in a strong vision and a discerning eye, a guide or a captain of the ship, if you will. Captains look to the stars and see the way (maybe!), but sailors also look up and see great things.
If you're catching on to my show-biz or seaward analogies, great - if not, let me shed some light. Recently, I read a wonderful blog post on a teacher's unfolding role in today's knowledge-saturated classroom. As adults, we have a tendency to get lost and overwhelmed, so throwing too much information at kids should be a no-brainer. Kids, and adults, need time to explore and make sense of ideas within their personal, and others', perspectives.
In a place where many minds come together, from different walks of life, a teacher must find ways to make learning relevant and to acknowledge and build upon what students already know. The most effective teachers make their students feel like worthy contributors to the conversation, then help guide them to new horizons and fill in the gaps. Learning in context, and producing a product that means something. I struggle to think of a teacher who truly helped me understand the everyday world in this way, but I can imagine what such a teacher would look like.
Of course, this idea sounds beautiful on the page, when in reality delivering such an approach is enormously challenging (which makes it worthwhile), especially when dealing with 20-plus individuals. All the more reason for teachers to strive to become further experts in their content and personal pioneers in style and approaches.
If a particular student or two is struggling to move on to a new concept because there still exists a gap in his/her knowledge, a quality teacher must not only acknowledge and help that student use his or strengths to reach an understanding, but must also help coordinate the guidance of other students in helping those individuals - and vice versa. This directed, collaborative process can result in and contribute to rich and diverse class learning - a "mosaic" of many learning styles and sets of background knowledge.
An awareness of individual and group gaps and strengths. Knowledge and creative approach of how to direct and re-direct students. Effective organization of many sets of ideas that build and shed light on a planned, but still flexible, learning objective. Transforming students from open vessels into active visionaries and creators. These are the skills of which the most powerful teachers are made.