One of the most exciting aspects of teaching is the fact that I don’t always have to teach. I’m not referring to the summer breaks but rather those teaching moments where the students teach the teacher.
I specifically chose a career in higher education because I want to be a lifelong learner. I want to learn just as much from my students as they learn from me. It’s a partnership – a coaching relationship – and it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Tonight, I learned a few new tricks of the trade, and more importantly, I learned them from my student newspaper staff at The Montage.
Following a trip to the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas, my students had the opportunity to share their newfound journalism knowledge with the rest of the staff at our weekly meeting.
Each one was eager to share tidbits, insight, and examples they picked up at the conference. They spoke with enthusiasm about FERPA, investigative reporting, design elements and page layout, public records, and interviewing techniques. One by one, each student had a “teaching moment” as I sat back and had a “learning moment.”
The most valuable lessons, in my opinion, come from those with passion. It doesn’t matter if the person is an expert in the field, a certified educator, or the average-Joe. How the information is conveyed and the ability to maintain interest and pass on passion predicts how influential the teaching moment will be for the learner.
There was not a trace of authority in the room tonight, not a trace of “expert” influence – only passion for learning – a key component of my teaching philosophy.
I have never subscribed to the “teacher knows it all” philosophy. I’m not afraid to admit if I don’t know something and will do my best to uncover the mystery. I will always strive to learn right alongside my students and if I ever stray from my personal philosophy, then it’s time for me to stop teaching.
Teachers make mistakes. Teachers are human, but more importantly, teachers are learners, too.