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Sunday, August 24, 2014

What Does It Take To Be A Teacher?

If someone wants to start teaching, the most important quality is just that--they want to teach. Of course, they need students, but if they have only a single student, they are teaching. That's the only requirement.

To be a good teacher requires more. That requires knowledge, research, and experience. Being a good teacher requires the new teacher to try to become better, and to seek out different avenues for becoming better. It requires time.

In the end, teaching is a skill like any other. It has to be honed. And you have to start from somewhere.

In Deadlift Dynamite: How To Master The King of All Strength Exercises, Pavel and Andy Bolton remind the reader that "You'll start off with bad technique--everyone does." That applies to a lot of things, teaching included.

We forgive people for poor technique because they are new practitioners. Perhaps we should forgive new teachers for poor teaching, because they are new teachers. Everyone needs to start somewhere.

(Of course, like a lot of things, this has limits. It's forgivable to be an unskilled teacher when you've been teaching for a week. If you've been teaching for a decade, you should be better than when you started. There is also such a thing as negligent teaching.)

1 comment:

John King said...

Great post, Jake.

One of the other key ingredients I found for a great teacher or coach is the primary motivation must be to help the student.

I have seen experienced teachers who were teaching because they needed the status boost of being a teacher to bolster their faltering self esteem. This seems to make for a poor teacher.

Nice article. I know you're always striving to make your already excellent teaching even better.