Why do I teach?
Its not the money, no I don’t get free courses or any discount on other courses. Here are 15 reasons why I teach:
It turns skill into knowledge
I have always found the act of refining and teaching what you think you know, turns it into something more refined, more useful even. It can make you think very deeply on a topic and for me; it makes me question the foundations of what I think I know. It encourages me to seek alternative answers, sometimes before I have formed a question. It allows me to reflect on some of the decisions I made in the ‘field’ and explore other options of a possible future from that decision point. Whilst you can copy someone’s skill you cannot copy his or her knowledge, as I believe knowledge comes from a journey, which you have to travel and reflect upon.
“Knowledge is the inoculation of information” Anon
I learn & and grow as much as my students
Helping others learn, if you listen to the students questions, can challenge your own thoughts and feelings on a matter. The ‘tired’ teacher just forces the student to learn what the ‘agenda’ tells them, whilst an ‘awake’ teacher will explore with the student the path of understanding and together they can grow. Occasionally I will meet a student who does not receive my materials or teaching in the way that works for us, this keeps my thinking and rethinking of different styles, materials, activities I need to use to involve and engage the students mind.
Staying ahead and preparing for the future
To teach keeps me up-to-date with my domain expertise and it pushes me to understand the likely trends for that domain. I than have to translate that into my lessons and it explain to my students and prepare them for it. Of course at the same time I am preparing myself for the future.
Hubris does not take over
Some teachers think they know it all, not only is this naive in terms of knowledge but also in terms of communication/engagement. They are idiots. I need to remind myself that I am not an idiot! ;-)
I test my assumptions
Working with people from different generations and history is really useful as your assumptions are constantly challenged not every Gen Y acts like a Gen Y or every baby boomer like baby boomer. We often get surround by ‘shortcut labels’ or brands and start to believe that every women thinks’ shopping is fun or every teenage boy only thinks about sex. As you teach you get to see the next upcoming generation, how they think/feel, learn and make sense of the world. On the counter side you get to see the older generations re-training themselves.
Prevention is better than cure
Effective education can prevent many problems in our lives, communities and society. Unfortunately we as a human race spend more time fixing problems after they have occurred, rather than preventing them with education. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.
It helps me understand humans to a greater level
I am thirsty for works on memory, learning, processing, communication, interaction and risk. All of this curiosity helps me explore, test and understand. Hopefully over time it improves my lessons and the students retention and ability to use the knowledge.
I believe in meritocracy
I am strong believer that our society has too much cronyism and nepotism and this needs to be balanced with meritocracy. Note I said balanced not replaced. There are days when I would suggest that meritocracy should be then dominant force, but not completely replace.
I like partnership
For me I have a contract with each of my students. They do their part and I will do mine. Sometimes life intervenes and does not allow the student to put the work in. I don’t have that choice.
I like accountability
In the end you get to see how successful you are as a teacher by the students work. When did you teach well and when you communicated a concept that was unrefined or too fluffy. For me this holds me accountable.
The global need to share
Like most human beings I have the need for acknowledgement, to belong and be part of something. Teaching satisfies part of that need.
It reminds me to be patient, understanding and compassionate
The most effective teacher will take their time and not hurry a student. They will allow ideas and thoughts to grow in the student and I greenhouse them until they are ready to be challenged. I don’t believe the Socratic method is always helpful, especially in early stages of knowledge development; it can force people down a path of believing in what they can defend. It can be very aggressive which not all humans appreciate. Nature often reminds us that to allow something to grow, you have to wait. Don’t get me wrong, there comes a time for testing where the Socratic method is very helpful.
It improves my ability to explain and communicate
For every lesson I have to think of a number of ways to explain the same concept, so that students with different learning styles can understand the concept well and grow beyond it. Very helpful in business.
It improves my leadership & mentoring
My simply philosophy for my employed teams, is to help them out grow you and the organisation, so they move on. I don’t expect anything to be forever. If you want to keep people in your life you have to work at it and try not to take each other for granted. Even so I think those people who work or play together for long periods have found a way to evolve and grow together. I have and do coach/ mentor a number of business leaders and politicians, I will cover this in another blog.
Teaching is not just in the classroom.
Mentor, Coach, friend, lover, colleague, leader, follower, we are all teachers.
“Those that cannot do, teach” Anon
Whilst I don’t agree with this statement, for many of reasons above. For me teaching is part of my life not the whole of it, hence why I prefer to do it part-time.