Last week we made a pact to write-up a blog on why we teach after a fast paced twitter chat. I have been thinking about it for quite a while – it takes me some time to play with ideas in my head and then, just like the last few posts I wake up in the early morning and have to quickly scribble some notes. At about 4.30 this morning however, my ideas gripped me so strongly I even made my own version of a sketch note.
Why do I teach? Well, I like to learn first and foremost and you know what they say… The best learning comes when one teaches what they learned.
Really though, deep down, I LOVE finding out about my students. I love teaching them how they learn and about the brain and then watch their gorgeous faces, no matter how old they are, when they discover that they really can do something and now have the strategies to do it. That’s what I love the most. Yes, it is that light bulb moment that many talk about in this profession but while it is a cliché’ it is also something very special that teachers just ‘get’. Think of it, if you have kids, of the time your little tacker learnt how to walk, or actually got the food into his mouth. It’s a bit like that.
I enjoy making a difference to students’ lives. I like getting to know my students as learners. I like being there in their discovery, in their triumphs and in their vulnerable times when they just want to give up. I get the opportunity to support them through it and open the door, allowing them to take risks and be there to pick them up when and if they happen to fail. Teachers need to make it safe to fail and model how to deal with failure when it comes. It’s part of the growth mindset where one learns and improves from failure rather than a fixed mindset where one believes that you are born with a certain intelligence and there is nothing more you can do to improve it.
I’m an optimist. For me, there is no point in worrying about something until you know what it is you have to worry about. I have many dreams and I try very hard, no – I work very hard to make them a reality. Sometimes it gets me into a lot of trouble because I’m so passionate about making it happen. I believe everyone will learn, for example, and that some may need longer or may need to travel some other path to get there, so…I allow that in my classes / workshops. Yes, even adults all learn at different paces and in different ways.
I love hooking people in – young and old – with stories. I love telling stories. In fact when I ask, “Hey, wanna hear a story?” there is always a positive response and even a ‘”Shhhooooshhhh everyone! She’s got a story!” My stories are real – sometimes I change the identities and settings but essentially they are about real life experiences and almost always related to the topic at hand. Sometimes, though, I just want to ensure I’m forming those all important RELATIONSHIPS. Students need to feel like you are actually a real eating, thinking, feeling, individual they could possibly learn to trust with their most important learning journey – developing into a caring, sharing citizen of the world. Hopefully one who might change it for the better so that we can live comfortably in our old age as we proudly watch them from our chairs.
I teach to learn and I learn to teach. YOU?
Thanks for reading 🙂