I had always thought of a teacher as someone who imparted knowledge to a class of students. This could either be an academic program or some other creative endeavor. I pictured someone doing research, creating a lesson plan and presenting the knowledge in a way the learners could understand.
As a teenager, my career goal was to be a kindergarten teacher. Life had other plans and I didn’t get the education necessary for this. The closest I came to fulfilling this desire was to spend several years as a Brownie leader. My opportunity to be a teacher has long passed.
Recently I read a book that changed my thinking. The author explained how all of us are teachers.
I teach by my attitude and behaviour. You may be observing and learning from me even when I am not aware. If that is the case, what am I teaching?
When I lose my temper, am tense, unforgiving and judgmental I’m teaching negative emotions. You will either learn to do the same or to stay away from me. Neither is acceptable.
If, on the other hand, I am peaceful, respectful, encouraging and empathetic I am teaching a lifestyle you will want to know more about. My example will draw you closer.
I learn best from someone who is open and honest. Your challenges and how you deal with them teach me I don’t have to appear to have it all together. I learn there is freedom in being authentic and want to pass this lesson on to others.
My teaching comes from life experience and lessons learned along the way. It is not only formal education that has the power to impact lives. I don’t have to spend time in study and preparation in order to teach. Instead, I need to be aware you are learning from me before I even open my mouth.
In that case, I pray my attitude and behaviour are teaching the right things.