Being a Teacher

I talked about learning and being a student in the last post. To follow-up, let’s talk about being a teacher today.

At the same time as you are learning, the tendency to teach will grow. It is in our compassionate nature to want to share with others, especially when you have come to see the light. As you learn and improve, you will feel a strong urge to educate and advocate and push others around you to change. And that is great.

However, understand that you need to let others walk their own paths. You can always teach, but people may not be ready to learn yet, just like yourself before a certain point. You cannot force information down their throats, and you cannot force others to change. You will only push them further away from learning. This is especially important with the people you care about because your urge to teach them will be even stronger. Be extra careful not to alienate them by forcefully trying to change them.

This is part of being respectful and compassionate toward your fellow human beings. Although it can be painful to watch as they make mistakes and get hurt, people need make their own mistakes to learn from them. That is part of life’s journey. Without the tripping and falling and getting back up, you do not grow. You have learned through the process of falling yourself, so let others do so.

You can change yourself, but you can never change others. Therefore it is important to notice when yourself begins “playing hero” and try to “save people” because you are hurting them in the long-run and not helping them to learn. People can only “save” themselves when they are ready to learn. We all have our own responsibility to learn, so leave others with their responsibility.

What you can do is to make yourself available. You provide them support and kind words in their endeavors but keep from lecturing them. Be present to share their joy and tears. And because you did not push them away through “force-feeding”, when the time is ripe and they are ready to learn and to change, they can take full benefits of your knowledge.

Part of being a great teacher is knowing the timing to teach and the right words to say. You can only teach if there is a student, and by “student”, I mean someone who is willing to learn.

Being a teacher is also a learning process in itself. So once gain, you can never stop learning.

I finish today with a saying from Bruce Lee:

I’m not a master. I’m a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I’m still learning. So I’m a student-master. I don’t believe in the word ‘master.’ I consider the master as such when they close the casket.

2 Responses to “Being a Teacher

  • 1
    thebaglady
    March 14th, 2008 17:09

    You are right about teaching being a learning process on its own. I have found that I learned materials much better in school when I tutored someone. Now that I blog a lot about personal finance and random topics I find that I learn a lot by reading what others have to say.

  • 2
    Kin
    March 15th, 2008 14:00

    Same here, thebaglady :)

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