We’ve all had a teacher in our lives who greatly impacted how we are today. Be it a school teacher or a life mentor, having someone guide you through the craziness of life helps a lot. At some point, though, the student must become the teacher and guide the next flock in traversing the ways of the world.
Being a good teacher is akin to being a good leader; they share a lot of common skill sets, and many of the techniques carry over. Saying that a good teacher is a good leader isn’t a stretch. After all, don’t they both guide people to their full potential? Be it at the workplace, at home, or school, having leadership skills brings the best out of everyone. But how can you learn to become a good teacher?
Understand the Fundamentals, Then Teach It
It goes without saying that you cannot teach what you do not know, so your own ability is the number one deciding factor of what you can teach. You must master the fundamentals before you can pass it on to someone else. If you’ve been working for years, it helps to refresh your basic skill set. After all, years of doing the same thing lead to developing personal shortcuts that may or may not work for beginners.
Once you’re confident that your grasp of the fundamentals is at an adequate level, it’s time to pass it on to your pupils. Understand that teaching skills are a lot like transferring real estate property: much like you need to prepare the paperwork to successfully pass a deed on to someone, you need to prepare every for every lesson before you pass on certain knowledge or technique to a student. What this means is to teach the very basic aspects (the same ones you might have needed to refresh), and then the intermediate or advanced skills that will later be needed.
Preparing your student for the intermediate skills is vital: the basics are the foundation of everything that they’ll learn after that. Focus on the basics, and once their basics are satisfactory, you can move on to the more exciting things in your field.
Be Organized: Structured Learning
Organization is something that’s often overlooked when teaching intuitively. While it might seem easier to teach skills as you go along, preparing lesson plans will prove beneficial. Having a strategy will make the process easier for both the student and the teacher. The student will learn the easier basic skills first, and the teacher won’t have to bear through repeated failures of the student when learning something new. This alleviates the student’s stress: when learning something new, failure is inevitable. It can discourage both the student and the teacher, thus making a structure with the easiest at the start will prepare the student for the next set of lessons.
This allows the mentor to make realistic projections of where they should be, preventing the need for constant backtracking and teaching skills that missed or skipped(something that’s all too common in an intuitive style of teaching). The student will also get as much practice as they need, ensuring that they are truly prepared for the succeeding skills.
Patience Is a Virtue
Even with your lesson plans, things will not always go your way. Many extraneous variables can affect your student’s learning. Patience is always necessary. And be extra patient. Your projections will fail, and you will have to constantly re-adjust your time frame.
Understanding how your pupil learns is also advantageous. This can take a while to achieve, as it can only be discovered through practice, but in time you will find out the best way your pupils learn. The patience you sow will reap benefits in the end.
We’ve established how you need to refresh your fundamental skill set. This is something that constantly needs to be done. Learning new things keeps your brain active and more pliable. An active brain means you’re better equipped to troubleshoot potential problems, and that means being able to prevent roadblocks that can affect your students’ progress.
Learning the updated methods of accomplishing your tasks is also beneficial. You’ll have a wider variety of skills to draw from, and the methods that you’ll impart won’t be outdated and moot. The latest information will benefit even those with veteran experience in any industry, especially those whose main task is to teach. As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to teach effective methods, and older methods might not prove effective in today’s time.
As many would say, the best way to learn is to teach. And that’s exactly what you should do. Teaching will help you gain a deeper understanding of your own discipline, hence learning how to teach better. It’s a never-ending cycle of learning, and to stop learning is to stop living.