To help you influence others, I think it is very useful to think about being a teacher.
Once you identify as a teacher it helps you think about how you communicate your ideas to others- what they want to get from you, how they prefer to receive information and ideas- and more.
I’ve been a teacher on three main occasions:
- As a voluntary teacher for the BREDEX Programme in Romania
- In Japan as an assistant language teacher for two years, on a programme administered by the Japanese Government
- As a private tutor, mainly in London, mainly to Sri Lankan Tamils
Also my mother was a nursery nurse until retiring and worked in lots of schools so I got to learn some tips from her as well.
First, a caveat and a point worth noting.
I’m not arrogant enough to think that everyone who comes across my work knows less than me about every subject that I talk about. Many people who read my articles, listen to my podcasts and speeches and watch my videos may well know more than me about many subjects. However, there will be at least some subjects I know more about and sometimes it is not about me knowing more, it is about me offering a new perspective. So, if I identify as a teacher and identify people reading my work as my students, it doesn’t mean that I think myself in any way superior to them. Actually, it means that I already think they know a lot and have bags of potential, which is why I need to think so carefully about how I can make my own ideas and interpretations useful to them.
So, why should you think of people who read your work as your students?
Here are five reasons:
- Because it will help make you write like you are speaking to a real person
- Because it will remind you to explain things to others clearly
- Because it will make you think about what you would like to learn if you had little knowledge of your subject
- Because it will make you think about how people have different learning styles like video, audio, visual etc.
- Because it will help you take people on a journey. How can you most effectively help them move from point a to point b?
I am sure that you can think of many more (if you can, feel free to share them in the comments).
Further of course when I say a teacher, I am not thinking just of a traditional teacher in a school. I am thinking also of people like in the exercise class in the photo above, who need to impart their ideas and instructions effectively so that everyone benefits.
Good luck with teaching your own students!