Sunday, January 19, 2014

Teachers are important

I was  a teacher for 40 years and loved every minute of it, but I learned some important lessons early in my career that helped me. For many young teachers once the following lessons (in bold) are learned they will be come better at their craft and more useful to the students they serve. "While we teach, we learn," said the Roman philosopher Seneca. 

From ancient history through to today, humans have realized that when you teach lessons to others, you end up learning more than the student. That's why the best way to develop a greater understanding of any material is to play the role of the teacher and explain it to a student. 

It's even better when your students challenge you. The more questions they ask you, and the greater their skepticism, the more you have to properly articulate your answers and justify your beliefs. It's much better to teach actively engaged minds than passive people. 

Nothing is better than working one-on-one with a cynical student. It demands that you become a better teacher, and better understand the material, when you are challenged to simplify your message. You also learn by repeating your message to student after student and adapting your delivery based on their non-verbal responses

It's helpful to become a mentor to someone else that seeks the same goals. By explaining your new habits, you will better understand their importance, and furthermore, you will become more committed to these new behaviors. When you act as a teacher you want to maintain integrity and act in a way that is consistent with what you just taught. After all, a hypocrite is a lousy teacher

As a teacher you should always remember that you will learn as much, if not more, than the student. 

And the more you learn, the more you can help others, and the positive cycle continues and expands, making you better and better at what you do, and allowing you to help more and more people. 

When you teach others what you know, when you share your knowledge, when you add value,teaching will give you a natural high. You'll do something good for others, and better yet, you'll do something great for yourself. All the while you'll improve your understanding of the material at the same time. 

That's why you actually benefit more from teaching than the student does. 

Trust me, every single time I've opened my expertise and shared it with others, I've left with new ideas, a better understanding, a clearer vision of the problem (and the solution that can be implemented), a feeling of gratitude for the knowledge that I have, and thankfulness for the ability to shine a little light into someone's life. 

Don't tell me you don't have anything to teach the world. In most areas of life, you don't need to be a certified instructor or a genius in order to impart a little wisdom to a friend, a colleague, or a mentor or a mentee. You just need to pass along what you know. Everyone wins when you do that. 

It doesn't matter if you are teaching a physical skill or a mental attribute, you cannot be a good teacher without making yourself better. When you instruct by example, it leads you to live by example. The lessons become more deeply ingrained in your mind. Keep on pushing and teaching. And that will make all the difference in your life. 

"Show your character and commitment through your actions." - Epictetus

No comments:

Post a Comment