Part of my own personal philosophy is that we carry the energy of both student and teacher within us, and depending on the experience or situation in which we find ourselves, one of these two energies becomes primary. We invoke our inner teacher when we have the need to pass along our knowledge, wisdom, or a gold nugget to another; and when it is our time to listen, learn, and embrace new information, our student self steps forward.
So the one question that yearns to be answered is, “What is my teaching philosophy?” Not sure? A great place to begin is to honestly acknowledge you have something of worth to pass along to another. Then begin to remind yourself of all the amazing ideas and experiences you have collected throughout your life while bringing in the perspective of a teacher. Begin to ask yourself what type of student might need to learn what you have to offer.
In the “normal” teaching profession, there are hundreds of teachers working together in an environment that has a single focus of seeking to succeed in passing along the basic foundational knowledge to a younger generation. But our inner teacher is not always going to be surrounded by others who support our perspective or our approach to teaching. Your confidence in delivery and expression is what your students will remember, but the success of your student is not dependent on your delivery or depth of knowledge; rather it’s built on their willingness to hear what it is you are sharing and delivering. This simple fact describes the essence behind all teaching, no matter what the venue.
When you begin embracing your teacher side more and more, you might be guided to compile your very own educational philosophy. In the normal academic world, an educational philosophy is a paper that guides you throughout of your teaching career. So how does this transfer to a personal educational philosophy? You can begin by asking yourself the following questions.
- What do you see as your basic purpose in educating?
- What, generally, is the role of your inner teacher in your life?
- What are your goals in sharing your wisdom/knowledge?
- What qualities do you have that support your inner teacher?
- What do you as a teacher owe your potential students?
Your educational philosophy can guide you as you move through life. One of the keys to tapping into your inner teacher is remembering that invoking a teaching moment is not one of consciousness or ego based but comes from your heart and happens without effort. For me, my inner teacher awakens as easily as my inner student. This has taken work, a conscious effort to shift my perspective continuously from teacher to student and back again. There are times when it is hard to discern which role is truly primary, but it comes down to trust for me. I trust that if I experience a situation to learn, then the lesson will be brought forward at the right time during which I am open to receiving the information and the lesson being presented. If I am in the experience to teach, the knowledge or wisdom I am to pass along will flow freely from me and the student will already be present and open to receiving my gift of knowledge.
Rediscovering or recovering your inner teacher is a journey that never ends, as our students will continuously present themselves. Remember that self-trust and honesty are the two key ingredients in allowing your students to appear, and you just may be surprised at the depth and breadth of your inner wisdom you can share and pass along.
Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.