I've always felt that the ultimate motto for a flight instructor should be, "My job is to teach you to fly better than I do." Of course, to reach this goal you'd need sufficient time, opportunity, and circumstance. And while you may never actually train a student long enough that he can fly better than you, you can certainly train him to be better than you were at a comparable level of experience.
But the important point here is that instructors who believe and live by this motto are less likely to act as though they have a greater interest in themselves than in their students. They are also more likely to have students who admire and respect them. Why? Because an instructor flying this motto as his or her flag has, by definition, a deep interest in other people and a rare and refreshing selflessness. The question is, can the motto possibly be true?
If it weren't possible for instructors to teach others to outperform them, where would record-breaking performances come from? Every pot-bellied, cigarette-smoking, wounded, arthritic, and overweight coach on the planet would be out of a job (and that would mean a lot of coaches on the bench). Remember, most Olympic athletes have coaches who never even qualified for the Olympics. The fact is that it's possible for you to teach your students to fly better than you can fly. The important prerequisite here is a deep understanding of the fundamentals of flight and the skill to communicate these ideas to your minions.
While others may not sing songs about your precision landings or pay tribute to your flawless lazy 8s, it's possible that they may one day do so for your students. So let "My job is to teach you to fly better than I do" be your motto and your goal.
By Rod Machado