I love to teach. I have a natural inclination to it, and I think being a teacher in any form, is the greatest way to shape people. Since I enjoyed the privilege of having great teachers simplify concepts and make them relatable for me, I also feel like I owe it to others to help them simplify the things they need to learn, if I am knowledgeable enough to do that. While I admire people who can easily grasp complex ideas taught with abstract words, I believe the majority of us need be taught using simplified ideas, lots of examples, and simple words.
Having taught at different points in life, I recognize that preparing to teach is a lot of work. The teacher not only needs to lay out their teaching plan, but they also need to find relatable examples for the specific audience and anticipate various kinds of questions. In the teaching session, connecting with those you are trying to teach and keeping them engaged requires ongoing effort and continuous development on the part of the teacher. Maintaining decorum and order also becomes critical if you are teaching a large number of people.
Teaching is a broad term and can include academic or religious content, one-on-one or group lessons, or the transfer of a knowledge or a skill. Whatever the context, teaching is different from just any kind of speaking because it requires deliberate effort to break down or simplify concepts and must always include opportunities for questions to be asked. The goal is for the learner to acquire some new knowledge or skill that they can put to use or even teach another person. Until there is a successful transfer of knowledge or skill (confirmed by an exam, assessment or some other check), teaching has not happened.
Since students or learners can be people of all ages, colors, backgrounds, or abilities, teaching methods need to vary significantly to cater to the need of various students. It is not uncommon to find a teacher combining several tools to communicate the same concepts in the same class. This is often necessary because while some are visual learners, others may be verbal learners. Some may learn better by listening and reflecting, while others move faster when they are doing something with the knowledge as they learn.
Here lies the teacher’s great task: understanding the diversity of their student population and catering to their needs as much as possible. If you ever had teacher who was really great at equipping you with some knowledge or skill in the past, now is a good time to call them and say “Thank You!”. It was likely not just about them getting paid: teachers do far more than they could ever get fairly compensated for! And that will be all for today…I’ll be back tomorrow. See ya!