Involve me and I learn.”
I love to teach people. When I think of one thing I really enjoy above all others it is teaching. The subject doesn’t really matter, if I have some knowledge and someone is asking for help, I will contribute. I aspire to be a teacher in the future—something that will benefit the mind, body and spirit of others. What do I think it takes to be a great teacher? Here is my Top 9:
1. Passion: You have to love doing it, and never let the students feel otherwise.
2. Compassion: You have to treat your students with kindness at all times.
3. Patience: Even if the students ask the same question 10 times or ask you to show them something for the 4th time. Everyone learns differently and at different rates, and I have a responsibility to provide whatever is necessary to help them. Which leads me to…
4. Provide solid reference materials: I have always been a big believer in this. I can SHOW you a 100 times, then leave you to do it. Even you if you take notes, emotions and fears can get in the way. If I provide a well-written reference piece, it can provide a sense of comfort AND help you get the job done.
5. Proper feedback: It is important to provide feedback that is immediate, honest and constructive. It needs to happen as soon as possible, so the item is fresh for all. It needs to be honest – if the student excelled in an area, tell them. If they have areas that can be improved, tell them. However, it matters how the feedback is worded – there is a big difference between “I would suggest…” and “That last part was terrible!” The student should walk away with their head held high, praising themselves for what they did right and challenging themselves on the areas they need to improve in.
6. Integrity: Do you what you say and say what you are going to do. The students’ expectations are critical. I have read that the definition of disappointment is the difference between expectations and delivery. I never want to give my students a reason to be disappointed in me.
7. Empathy: Understanding what it means to be an adult student–learning new things, juggling homework and family/friends– is so important. I don’t have kids, but I can imagine what it would be like to have to take care of them and take time for myself as a student. I am not a single parent, but the same applies. If I just teach from my experience as a married woman, no kids, one dog, it will alienate some of the students. Everyone has their own journey and will get to their goals in a unique way.
8. Connection: I believe if you are coming from a heart-centered place as a teacher, the students will respond and connections will be made. We all have days that suck, but I can’t bring that into the classroom. Bonding cannot occur if I am wallowing in my own personal crap. I need to find a way to center or fake it til I make it.
9. Gratitude: I am always thankful for the opportunity to impart my knowledge on others, and if someone is willing to give me an opportunity to do it, how can I not be grateful? I am lucky to see others grow and evolve through teaching and that is beyond rewarding for me.