Monash University Lecturer. Addicted and compassionate traveler,
When I was at uni, I had to write an essay that went along the lines of “Are teachers born or made? Discuss with justifications”. At the time, I made a rather mundane case that teachers are both born (I felt I was this teacher) and made (I felt I was becoming this teacher).
We all know that some of us have a “natural” way of sharing our knowledge easily and readily with others, whilst others have to work on it in an ongoing and conscious way - to find their place in front of the classroom or even boardroom. What doesn’t surprise me is that over the years, my stance has changed very little, mainly as a result of trying to “make”, mould, or magically manifest thousands of teachers, some of whom had the “gift”, others of whom matured into it, and still others for whom a P (pass) meant just one thing – a degree!
Over the years, I’ve learnt that people become teachers in many ways and for many reasons. I have also found that many wonderful teachers often second guess themselves, doubt their skills, or simply freeze up in front of others. Unfortunately, these folks often leave teaching way too early. But even more tragic are those who never actually consider themselves to be teacher material in the first place and never even start.
This blog is dedicated to this group of teachers. The knowledgeable, personable but hidden teacher who has a wonderful voice – but has never let it roar (yet). This blog post might just give you the confidence boost needed to unleash the teacher hidden within.
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential.” (Maya Angelou)
Finding and unleashing your hidden teacher requires courage; and whilst we may not be born with that, we are definitely born with the potential to be “made” into just about anything. Without tapping into our potential to be courageous, we won’t ever try stuff that is too hard. We will seek out everydayness, comfort, and safety even though we are craving extravagance, disruption and adventure.
Setting out to share your message with others is just like this – a battle of your own wits about whether you are born or made a teacher. This happens because, in the same place that there is knowledge, commitment, and passion, there is also self-doubt, procrastination, and fear. I want to assure you right now that all this happens, all the time, in every beginning teacher I have ever met. It’s quite simply part of the package.
So how do we turn the worries into wonder, the knowledge into know-how, and the doubts into dynamite? How do we take those first awkward steps towards committing to planning and then, running your first class?
Easy, let’s go back to primary school.
When you were in primary school, you had various combinations and levels of: guts, positivity, busy-ness, action, curiosity, creativity, adventure, energy… and much more. You especially liked imagining that you had the potential to be, have, and do absolutely anything; you were also interested in others, making people happy, and you liked to try just about anything simply because you liked trying.
Today, you may well still have some of these inside you but they are dim, hidden, or just “you know … complicated”. These lost pieces of you are now needed to talk yourself into teaching. In order re-connect with these little pieces and unleash your inner teacher, you only need ask yourself one question: what is my passion and my purpose?
Ready to graduate to high school?
Back in high school, you had various combinations and levels of: independence, vulnerability, friendships, strengths, weaknesses, ups and downs, daring, fears, change… and much, much more. You especially liked thinking you knew everything, outsmarting adults, and pushing boundaries, but these were always tinged by a fear of rejection, lack of confidence, and varying perceptions of self. This is the time you first started doubting you had potential.
Today, you may well still have some of these inside you, but most will be obvious and on display – in what you do or don’t do, have or don’t have. These pieces of you (whether obvious or not) are now needed to rebuild your courage and spark your commitment to teaching. In order to reconnect with your potential and unleash your inner teacher, you need to ask yourself a courageous question: what would I regret not fully doing, being, or having in my life?
Congratulations, if you’re still here with me! You are well and truly ready for WeTeachMe.
One of the things I’ve noticed about WeTeacheMe is that it is a highly supportive and creative teaching environment. So like a primary school teacher, WeTeachMe will hold your hand and tell you “you can do it” – they’ll closely care for and respect your courage in believing in yourself and your desire to simply try. They are on your team.
And just like those adults in high school that you wanted to be challenged by and spar with all at the same time, WeTeachMe will also provide a sophisticated platform for honing your knowledge, nurturing your skills, and packaging your teaching potential – they’ll support you to plan so that you can take that final plunge and unleash the teacher within.
Whether you believe, know, or sense how teachers materialise is a moot point here, because the only thing that you need to think about is where do I sign up, and when do I start?
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