Episode 202 - What Teachers Do...
A friend of mine said he taught to make a living, I told him that I taught to make a difference.
Later that day I wrote this:
Teachers are really in the business of creating change – that's our mission. We strive to change how people think and how they understand the world.
If our student is unchanged by the end of the lesson, we’ve failed – this is what teaching is really about, isn’t it?
It’s not about syllabus, content or lesson plans – it’s about making a connection and effecting change in our students.
If we are exceptional we get to re-ignite the spark – the little tiny spark of the child that "They" didn’t manage to stamp-out or socialise out of us. It’s always there, waiting for a safe place to flare back up with ferocious intensity. As teachers, we’re there to fan the spark into an ember into a flame, into a roaring inferno of joyous exploration , creativity and fun.
Woven through the fabric of every lesson or learning objective is the desire to lift our students, so that they can see themselves further down the road, to see a vision of themselves as better and more capable – to instill the skills, ideas and principles they need and to guide them to the point where their reality catches up with that vision.
And we teachers should infect our students with our enthusiasm, our passion for the subject, our curiosity and energy – not flatline them with boring "same-old, same-old lessons" – that turn them off to learning. We we can’t let that happen.
And finally - if we can – let’s make it fun. Let's be se silly, irreverent, playful – perhaps even vulgar or rude. Let's do whatever it takes to perk-up things up: humour, movement, energy and smiles can make a game of learning.
When we allow students to use their inborn ability to learn by being playful, I believe we’ve given them back their birthright – because that’s how little kids are, before it is "educated" out of them.
I have a lot of adult clients, and this is by far the most important thing I do for them. Yes, they learn guitar, but more than that, they learn to Play, with a capital P.
It’s the teacher's duty to help our students – I think of it as reaching back from a forward position – ahead of them – and pulling them forward, faster and more securely than they could do for themselves.
Humans are social animals, and we are all at our best when we are absorbed in important work in the service of others – there’s no better way to spend your day, in my opinion.
And finally, we get to ask them the question – “what else do you want?”... The subtext of what we do as teachers should always be: “you’re able to learn quickly and to understand so much... what else would you like to be good at, have, do or be in your life?”
And when our students leave us – for university, a new job, a new home, or even pass away - they leave behind a trace of themselves, and they take a part of us with them.
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