Why I Want to Be a Teacher
"Why I want to be a Teacher"? is a question I often ask myself.
Last night I was playing against a friend of mine who is an amazing pro billiard player, and after he dominated the end of the rack I asked him how he was able to make 2 incredible shots against me to win the game.
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He could give me no real answer. All he said was “I visualized the shot and knew I had it.”
I have found that some of the most incredibly super talented people to be terrible teachers.
There are many top achievers who solely perform tasks superbly on intuitive feel alone, while others need to have a process broken down.
As much as I admire his talent, I must admit this has never been my way.
I am an utter freak for detail.
I can’t help myself, I have always been this way.
Throughout my life I have never been satisfied until I was able to break a process down to its smallest components.
That’s why I want to be a teacher.
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Teaching is the Ultimate Litmus Test
Understanding is not knowledge. Knowledge is temporary and is easily lost. True understanding involves knowing the “why” rather than explaining the “how”.
This is why true learning requires teaching. In my humble opinion, in order for us to truly understand something, you must be able to TEACH it.
TEACHING my friends, is the ultimate litmus test for learning.
And that is also why I want to be a teacher.
How Our Brains Work
Books, videos, and online courses are very well-organized in a sensible way. Unfortunately, the full breath of their material doesn’t get retained in our brains in the same way.
As we gather knowledge, most of us learn it in small bits and pieces. We absorb this new information in jumbled bits, in a disorganized manner like pieces of a puzzle. That’s why when we learn something new for the first time, we don’t completely “get it” until we learn something else later.
I’m sure some of us have been confronted with this rather embarrassing situation, when we are attempting to explain a new topic to someone else that we think we understand, and in the act of explaining we come to the realization of how little we truly know of the subject.
Sometimes this even requires some deft “backpedaling, and most often other times the ever-prevalent “hemming and hawing!”
In our state of post mortification, we are then forced to ask ourselves the most important question in learning to gain true understanding… “why.” When we have to answer the question “why,” all superficial understanding of the topic just won’t cut it.
The truth of the matter is we have to understand something deeply in order to not just explain the “how”, but the “why”.
Even as the earlier topic becomes clearer, the way that data is structured in our mind is not very well organized regardless of how organized the source of that information was.
Reorganizing Our Thoughts
Only the process of FIRST writing our thoughts on paper (or on a retrievable location on your computer or phone) will force us to reorganize those thoughts; to sort them out and make sense of them.
Then once we make sense of them, we should take immediate action on that process to test their validity and reliability.
Personally if I TRULY want to learn any new topic to gain my fullest understanding of it, I take it one step further; I FIRST
- Deconstruct all of its elements by “tearing that knowledge completely apart”, and then
- Reorganize that same knowledge in order of chronology to be able to most effectively TEACH that subject so virtually anyone in my target audience will be able to understand it.
Only when thoroughly completing and passing this litmus test according to my own stringent standards, do I now satisfactorily claim to truly understand any subject.
Ultimately, this is the greatest personal satisfaction, and why I want to be a teacher.
Why I Am a Staunch Supporter of Teaching
Whenever I am first trying to formulate any course of instruction, whether it be a direct class or an online training module, as part of this process I will inevitably discover gaps in my own understanding of whatever subject I am trying to teach.
That is because when we first learn something we ALL have a tendency to “gloss over” many things we think we understand, but we comprehensively do not. I am no different.
This is why unless we are truly already “experts” in our field, we will have to re-explore the subject deeply ourselves. Sometimes this involves just sitting quietly and thinking about the subject clearly and deeply before we try to explain it to someone else.
Sometimes it is merely the act of writing, speaking or drawing a diagram or something else that causes us to make connections we never made before, instantly deepening our knowledge.
(Ever had one of those “eureka” moments when you explained something to someone else only to suddenly realize that before you tried to explain it you didn’t really quite understand it yourself, but now you magically do!)
Warning: Best to try this on a close friend or at least someone who won’t be judging your expertise!
The reality is most often we will have to go back to the drawing board and do more research to fill in those gaps in our own knowledge we just uncovered after we are confronted with the reality of failing to explain it correctly to someone else.
Only the process of preparing to effectively teach a course or a training on the subject can bring your “knowledge game” up to this level.
This is the reason why I am such a staunch supporter of teaching.
We Are All Teachers
Teaching doesn’t have to be some formal practice where you have only have books and a classroom. It is simply repackaging information in a way that someone else can understand. The most effective teaching takes place when you can clearly explain something to someone in terms of something else they already understand.
Don’t be afraid to blog about what you are learning as you are learning it. That is the true value in your blogging
The truth is, you only have to be one step ahead of someone for them to learn from you. There will always be someone out there who could benefit from your knowledge, even if you consider yourself a beginner.
We are all teachers.
Always make teaching an integral part of your learning process
If you truly want to learn something. Then teach it.
Thank You for taking the time to read this article. Let’s continue to learn from each other.
Please ask any questions you may want to consider.