How You Teach is How You Do Everything

Mar 16, 2011

by Michele Lisenbury Christensen and me

As you read through the following list, you may see yourself more than once.  We sure do. This list of ways we can approach teaching is both diagnostic and prescriptive – it will lead you to sparkling fresh insights and some new wiggle room in teaching. 

Each point proposes a shift in awareness or the development of skill so you can teach and be nourished doing it.

Read this list on another level, too: it’s not just about your approach to – or assumptions about – teaching.  It’s also about your approach to life.

If you play with these shifts in the arena of teaching, you will – if you are open and invite the change- find that transformation spills over into other areas of your life.  We call that a two-fer miracle – hot diggity dog.

How You Teach is How You Do Everything

1. Some teachers assume that their students are needy and that needy people will suck them dry.

Others know that we’re all needy, and develop both the compassion and the boundaries to serve without being drained.

2.  Some teachers feel needy and approach teaching as beggars:  “Like me? Love me? Pay me?  Listen to me? … Even just a little? Please?”

Others develop an embodied dignified sense of their right to teach, to serve, to be heard and to exchange value.  And their students benefit.

3.  Some are arrogant: their experience, intelligence, or knowledge separates them from their students.

 Significance anybody?

Others let their experience, intelligence, and knowledge fuel their curiosity, connection, and humility and teach from those qualities.

4.  Some over-prepare: they obsess over their teaching and exhaust themselves even before they start.

Others make room for their anxiety, knowing it can’t be quelled by over-preparation. These teachers. prepare for their students, not for their fears.

5.  Some under-prepare and wing it every time, and shame themselves afterwards with “I should’ve done better.”

Others use their spontaneity skillfully, building on a base of solid planning to serve in a way that makes them proud (enough of the time).

6.  Some are afraid of the “difficult” students: they don’t quite know how to work with certain people.

Others prize the students who challenge them most as their greatest teachers, and breathe into the scratchy places where needs might not get met.

7.  Some think they need to learn more and more and more to have the right to teach.

Others remain students throughout their lives, but are moved by inspiration rather than inadequacy.

8. Some don’t teach even though they’ve heard the call, for one or more of the above reasons.  They haven’t found their way to the teacher’s seat.

Others seek the support, inspiration, and tools to create satisfying teaching experiences even while they’re still imperfectly perfect.

We created TeachNow because we grapple with many of these challenges and because we see so many other teachers (and those who feel called to teach) doing the same. We’ve created a program to address both the soul of teaching and the nut-and-bolts.

Our course doesn’t teach you how to teach or how to make a killing with your content. Instead, it gives you a place where others recognize, as you do, that teaching is a practice of personal and/or spiritual growth, and that teaching sustainably requires looking yourself in the eye, over and over again. With love, humor, safety, and lots of practical tools, we’ll guide you to craft a way of being within your teaching that is authentic and nourishing.  Join us Thursday March 24th for the first class. It’s on us. As in free. Only people who take the first class – live or by recording – will be able to register for the rest  of the course. We’re committed to your learning, not just buying.


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