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On Becoming a Better Teacher (and Student)

I’ve been teaching full-time for less than ten years now. I taught part-time before that and collectively have a little over ten years teaching experience.

When I think about my first semester as an instructor, I know that I was learning the ropes and trying to make sure all my bases were covered.

My focus was trying not to break anything.

As I’ve improved my teaching techniques, I know that being a teacher – and a student – is an evolution that takes place over time.

If we keep doing something consistently over long periods of time we achieve a level of mastery.

Now, I feel like I navigate a semester and avoid those early worries of pitfalls and focus on connecting the knowledge with my students. I’ve worked to develop a multi-modality approach, which includes: live lectures, readings, assignments, videos, podcasts, discussions, and other recommended content.

I know that in another ten years, my approach will have further changed. We need to be open to growth in life. If not, we grow stagnant and ineffective.

There’s almost always a better way.

The Little Student (1890), J. Alden Weir

Someone Else Said it Better

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own unique spin on that idea.

“There’s nothing new under the sun,” is true because after millennia humans have had a lot of thoughts. Yet we still are creating new products and services that borrow from other products and services.

When was the last time you saw a movie and thought, “this is a lot like that other movie.”

That doesn’t make it a bad movie. In fact, that movie is probably someone’s favorite movie.

Just because someone else said it first, said it better, or thought of it first, doesn’t mean that you can’t put your own thoughts into it. The market encourages you to do this. Otherwise, we’d all drive the same car, talking on the same phone, wearing the same clothes, and eating the same food.

Someone else probably wrote a post like this, but better. And you know what, that’s okay. Because you’re reading this one and may one day borrow an idea here that will change the world.

(just call me when you do so I can be your paid consultant)

Man Giving Speech (ca. 1800), Artist Unknown