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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Everyone a teacher

Everyone a teacher

January 22nd, 2010

Career Opportunities podcast logoEveryone a teacher
By Douglas E. Welch

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CareerCampLA: Helping to Build the Carer You Deserve

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Northridge, California

A hybrid conference/unconference dedicated to “helping you build the career you deserve”. The day will include scheduled speakers, ad hoc presentations and breakout sessions on all aspects of building your career. CareerCamp is for anyone who wants to build and/or improve their career.

Visit the CareerCamp web site for more information

Look anywhere in the news today, local, national and global and you will see lots of discussion of teachers and education. Here in Los Angeles there is a large discussion of good teachers, bad teachers, teachers with tenure, teachers out of work. While I am certainly not a “teacher” in the usual sense, most of the work I do involves teaching concepts and actions to others. Some might say I am working as an educator, while others would deny even that, preferring the name consultant or coach. All this talk, though, ignores one important fact. Regardless of our job title, career, or day-to-day functions, we are all teachers in some fashion.

Some of you might be wondering how you could possibly be described as a teacher when you don’t work in a traditional classroom with traditional students. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?. I would say, no. The fact is we teach countless people every day without realizing it. Everyone we contact throughout our day has the potential to learn from us. Even if we only teach them how to use the ATM or how to work the automated checkout at the grocery store, each interaction is a moment of learning, for better or worse.

Too often these days, the lessons we are teaching are negative, nasty and downright wrong. Through our actions, we teach people to be mean, arrogant, argumentative, and unlikable. How would our lessons change if we recognized them as teaching and not just simple actions in our lives? What if you actually thought about the messages your actions send to others? Would you change how you act and interact with those around you or would you continue to act the way you always have? Would you act in front of a classroom of children the way you act as you move though your daily life? Why? Why not?

I want you to conciously ask yourself each day, “What lessons am I teaching to those around me?” Are these lessons I would want my children, my nieces and nephews, my parents learning from me? Am I presenting the image I want to present, or through my inattention, am I instead providing a host of bad examples throughout the day? I want you to embrace your role as teacher, as deeply as someone who is comitted to the classroom for 8 hours each day. Think about how you move from lesson to lesson, subject to subject, student to student. How do you interact with a stranger your own age, a teenager on the bus, a child in your home? Should you teach them all in the same way? How do you reach them as individuals with different wants and needs?

Do you see yourself now in the role of the teacher that you already are? If so, let me ask you to take this concept one step farther. Now that you understand how your actions teach volumes, think about what ideas, concepts, dreams, and hopes you can actively choose to teach to those around you. Providing a good example is an excellent start, but once you are doing that, you have the ability, and I would say responsibility, to share your knowledge with others. We each have a unique subject, a unique topic to share, simply because we are all unique individuals. The class we teach will be unlike any other. It must be, as we are unlike any other.

I have a firm belief that if we taught what we know deeply and passionately to others, the world would be a much better place. Sharing the “better angels of our nature” with those around us, in actions and with words, has the power to fundementally change the dynamic between you and others. When we see ourselves as teachers, in the best sense of the words, we begin to see the repsonsibility we all carry with us. Life becomes more than an inward looking movie about us, our wants, our needs. We begin to see the complex interconnections between all of us and how, by effecting others, you can also effect yourself, often in very deep ways.

What will you teach today, tomorrow, next month, next year? Who will you teach it to? We are surrounded by students, if only we would listen to their questions and understand their desire to learn.

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