You are a teacher.
Not because of your title. Not because of your position. Not because you were hired. You are a teacher, because you teach.
If you are a parent, you are a teacher because you teach your children.
If you are a grandparent, you are also a teacher because you teach your children and your grandchildren.
If you work with a youth group or lead a bible study group for your church, you are a teacher, because you are teaching youth or you are teaching fellow parishioners.
If you are a coach, you are a teacher, because you teach your team.
You see where I’m going with this?
If you are a friend, you are a teacher, because you teach your friends every time you share, you help, you support, or you care.
If you are a boss or a manager, you are a teacher, because you are teaching those you work with through every direction you give and the example you set.
If you are a YouTuber, you are a teacher, because you teach your audience.
And yes, if you are a teacher by profession, you are a teacher, because you teach your students.
Anyone can teach and probably everyone does teach.
We may think of ourselves are parents, grandparents, friends, and bosses, but we may not think of these roles as teaching roles. They are or, rather, they can be.
You don’t need a classroom to teach. You don’t need permission to teach. To become a teacher, you just need to start teaching. Wherever you are and with whomever you are with, you can teach.
But when we are asked to teach, if we don’t think of ourselves as teachers, we get nervous. We feel inadequate for the task. We may feel like we can’t do it.
Maybe because we feel that teaching is hard. Maybe we feel that it requires training, certificates, and degrees. Maybe we feel like teaching requires a title and a classroom.
Teaching is sharing. Teaching is engaging. Teaching is motivating. Teaching is showing and demonstrating.
You don’t need a classroom to share, to engage, or to motivate. You don’t need a classroom to show or to demonstrate something.
You just need a desire and an opportunity. And, honestly, it’s not hard to find opportunities. So, if you want to teach you can teach.
Notice I didn’t say expertise? You don’t have to be or to feel like an expert to teach. You just need to know something and want to share it.
Once we accept that we are teachers, our expectations may change. We may begin to expect results and we may tie our success to those results.
Seeing your students learn is an amazing feeling. Seeing them struggle can be heartbreaking. Seeing your students not care can make you want to quit. Don’t let discouragement change your desire to teach. Don’t let it make you stop.
Teaching is hard. Sometimes it may feel impossible. Failing to reach your expectations doesn’t mean you aren’t a teacher. It’s normal. It’s very, very normal. It’s part of how our students learn and it’s part of teaching too. Failure is necessary to learn. Giving up isn’t.
Please don’t think that I am undervaluing teaching by saying everyone can do it. We all have the capacity. Sometimes we use it. I am speaking to those who don’t believe they can do it. That they aren’t qualified. That they aren’t expert enough. Teaching, as a profession, does require training, certification, and degrees. It does require time in the classroom. It requires many things. Not all teaching is done by professional teachers, but all teaching is done by teachers.
If you teach, in any capacity, you are a teacher. Own it. Embrace it. Strive to do it well. Those within your influence need you.
We all have something to share. We all have someone to share with. We are all teachers.
Let’s go make a difference.
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