Most of us can think of a favourite Teacher we’ve had.
It might have been at school, at college or Uni. It might have been a mentor at work or a tutor on a course we’ve taken.
We liked them because they were knowledgeable, able to help us learn and were keen about getting us involved.
There were other reasons, maybe one, maybe many, but I suspect the core of why we liked them was that they engaged us and made us feel empowered.
They made us feel like we could do it, we could learn stuff, that it was a pleasure to learn, that we were being enriched.
We came away feeling empowered and enthused.
At the time we may not have thought about it like that. We probably just enjoyed it, felt that we were doing well and enjoyed that feeling.
There is a lot of stuff that goes to give someone credibility. And good teachers always have it.
It’s hard to analyse why they were successful in making us feel good about ourselves and what we were learning. We just felt it. When we look back on the experience, we feel it.
They engaged with us, made us feel empowered, made us feel their enthusiasm and commitment to sharing their knowledge.
Well here’s the thing… We are all teachers to someone.
Sometimes it’s a formal setting, or if not formal then at least a setting where there is an expectation, where we know we have a chance to help others learn.
Sometimes it sneaks up on us, we realise in the moment that we are teaching someone something. And sometimes it comes back to us in a flash of memory, we see what we did, realise that we were acting as a teacher.
Do we enjoy teaching things? Do we have the confidence to do it? The desire?
Can we acknowledge that sometimes we are asked to be a teacher and we need to step-up?
Credibility can only come from our honesty. We cannot decide we are credible for someone else, they decide that for themselves, so if they have decided it, don’t question and over-analyse – step one is done.
What we can do is make sure we are engaging with people who look to us as a teacher, that we think about what they need and want, what we can offer and give. We have to listen and engage.
We have to be enthusiastic.
Most importantly we have to empower people. We have to encourage them, allow them to grow for themselves with what they know and want to learn. We have to be positive, supporting and encouraging. We have to be.
So when there is an opportunity to be the teacher – embrace it!
Be prepared for it and embrace it.