Empowering other people by teaching or mentoring is a very priceless skill. The benefits of sharing your knowledge to those who are in need are tremendous. Not only does it help others but it also helps you in a big way. In this article, I’ll dig into the very concept of teaching in order for you to get a glimpse of the world from yet a different perspective. Instead of being a student, you will play the role of the teacher.
I love teaching. In fact, I was a former professor in my alma mater and taught students for a year. Not only that, I was also helping my friends in their academic subjects when I was still in college.
The interesting thing about my experience is that I was able to handle people ranging from not so good to very brilliant ones. I have also tested what works and what doesn’t work. That’s why I was able to compile the most important lessons which now I will share through this article.
Empowering Other People through Giving
By sharing what you know to other people, you are giving them the chance to have a better world. They will eventually discover things that they otherwise won’t know if it wasn’t for your intervention. You give them the ability to see the invisible things that tend to bog them all the time. Because of your influence, they will feel better and more empowered.
No man is an island, therefore it’s impossible for an individual to survive without seeking the help of others. The reason for this is feedback. Imagine any person solving a calculus problem all alone with no one around to check on him. How will he know if his answer is correct? How will he know if he used the right formula? Most importantly, how will he know whether he passed the subject or not?
By simply acting as a guide to them, you can help them accomplish their goals much faster. Instead of having people look for the right direction, sharing your knowledge and wisdom will take the guessing work out and give them the answers on how to attain success. The best part? You will see them succeed because of you, which has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.
Empowering Yourself through Learning
You hear what you teach, that’s why I think it’s a very effective way to gain knowledge besides reading and listening. Imagine vocalizing every detail of what you are teaching. Imagine demonstrating your skills while talking. In that way, you actually gain some wonderful insights that you otherwise won’t have discovered by reading and listening alone.
Also, you will learn how to answer questions and troubleshoot problems that the student might have. This forces you to think of an answer because you won’t get it directly from your notes. As a professor, I got exposed to many questions after I present my lecture because there was something bothering them, which got me thinking. In the end, I did resolve the problem and it was a great learning experience for me.
There is yet another valuable lesson I learned from teaching: understanding people’s thoughts. Through keen observation you will actually learn how their mind works in every step of the way. The reason why I think it’s important is because that’s what made me smarter and brighter. Learning how the brain works will allow you to better improve your teaching the next time around.
There are other perks that you wouldn’t otherwise notice while teaching. I’m not a social guy. But because of me teaching and giving my knowledge to people, I was able to extrovert by learning other people’s thoughts and behavior. I will then use these learnings to adapt the next time I will share my knowledge to them.
Also, when you become so good at it, more and more people will start to notice you. This means more students and clients to teach on. The more you grow your experience of teaching, the more effective you will be and the more credibility you build. It’s like a snowball effect that keeps rolling as long as you keep showing up over and over again. But first, you’ve got to invest in your teaching skills to achieve just that.
Overall, it’s a Mutual Benefit for Both Parties
The best reason I love teaching and showing people what I know is because other people will benefit as much as I do. The salary was good, the time and freedom was good, but the best part of my job is helping students by making sure I lead them in the right way. At times, these same people also share their knowledge with me because I’ve built good relationships with them. That’s why overall it’s a win-win experience to become a teacher and build great influence.
But What Does It Take to Teach?
In this section I will discuss the key ingredients in order to become a great teacher, instructor, trainer, or mentor. First off, you don’t need to become a licensed, professional teacher to teach (Who told you that anyway?). Everyone can be a teacher or instructor, but the qualities that separate the good from the great are given below.
Remember, the mindset of a student is very different compared to that of a teacher. If you’re used to listening to your teacher and following your instructor’s guidance, then it’s time to reset. This time around, it’s YOU who will be speaking and guiding others. No pressure, man. Just understand the seven key ingredients as follows:
This is the very foundation of every person in order to become successful. It’s not really about the amount of expertise or talent that you possess. Your love for what you’re doing must be so huge that it becomes contagious. It’s like being a cup that is overflowing with water and which spills over others’ cups. Only when you are full of real passion can you give tremendous value to others and inspire them.
- A Better Knowledge
Any person who has specialized knowledge on something is capable of teaching. The question often is, “How skillful or talented should I be to qualify?” For as long as you have something special in you that roughly 95% of the people you meet don’t have, then you will do great. Just make sure that once you have chosen one, you will commit to that expertise or skill all the way.
- An Audience
Of course common sense, you need someone to listen to you if you’re going to teach. Once you have your chosen expertise find out who will be interested to know from you. To start off, why don’t you try it on your friends? Ask whoever might be interested in what you have to offer or better, act naturally and you will find someone who will be inclined to your talent.
- Ability to Communicate
The number one skill of a teacher is the ability to connect with people by being a great communicator. Why do you think that most lectures in schools and universities are boring? It’s because professors and instructors tend to only state the facts, nothing else. If you want to be a successful educator you must find a way to connect with people without making them bored. My advice? Try storytelling.
- Better Understanding of People
In order to better communicate with people, it helps to know more about your audience. Understand their behavior and what their current status is in life. Relax, it doesn’t take a Psychology degree to read others’ behavior. In fact, you have been doing it throughout your entire life. Get a feel with what level of knowledge they have now. Are they beginner, advanced, or expert practitioners?
In simple terms, consistency means being firm with what you are teaching. You abide by your principles all throughout and never change it (unless your principles are wrong). For example, if I tell you that “passion is important to be successful”, then for me it really is important and it’s a principle that I will carry all throughout. Consistency is important because it creates your personal brand which lasts for a long time.
People don’t normally give out their secrets to others because of the fear of being taken advantage of. But truly generous people don’t worry about this and will never ever play dirty tricks on their audience. Having people know your secret doesn’t guarantee that they will be able to use it properly. That’s why giving out every single tip to them should not be a concern at all.
Some Actionable Ways to Get Started
If you think you lack the requirements to teach as mentioned above, but you really want to do it, then proceed anyway. Just correct yourself along the way and improve your teaching skills. In fact, I don’t consider myself a great teacher yet. But hey, I’m in the process of being one.
Ready to take the plunge? If so, then let’s proceed. Below are the practical ways or methods for sharing your knowledge to others. All it takes by the way is just one, so pick the one that works best for you.
- Create Lectures
This is the traditional style which I actually practiced as a professor. I was creating notes, doing PowerPoint presentations and showing some videos in class. Although creating these lectures can be time-consuming, it will stick with you for quite a long time. Also, don’t forget to improve it to make it a more valuable resource.
- Show People How (Hands-On Knowledge)
For specialties that are more hands-on such as cooking, drawing, dancing, or playing sports, you must show people what you know. Create YouTube videos, conduct workshops, do a demonstration or anything that could convey information to the people by doing some action. In order to succeed, you have to walk the talk by acting more.
- Meet Like-Minded People
Whatever knowledge or skill you have, it helps to congregate with people who share the same interests and passions as you do. The reason why is for you to grow your expertise even more than just doing it alone. You can learn some priceless gems from other people and at the same time share your own gem of wisdom as well.
- Try Teaching Online
There are many ways to teach online such as teaching online courses, blogging, or running a podcast. Many people actually see their success in the online world by simply working on it full-time and expanding their reach to a large audience. Trivia: there are 3 billion people on this planet that are browsing the Internet for useful information. So why not try taking your expertise online and giving it a shot?
- Take any Person and Mentor Him
If you are somewhat already an expert, then you can start taking clients (online or offline) and be a consultant, coach or a mentor. To get started, take any person who is willing to learn and follow you all the way and practice on him. Who knows, you might create the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffett or Michael Jordan! (Note: Each of these people had a mentor)
The World Needs Great Teachers
You know, I’ve been talking to my former college friends about education. They always tell stories about how the school system fails in many ways. I thought it was just in my country. But when I tried to do a research online, I realized that it’s actually a worldwide issue.
It’s not actually the teacher in school who fails but the entire school system. Those who had a teaching job regardless of level understands a merely obsolete set of guidelines for students to follow and can never do anything about it. While some can adapt to the system, the majority can’t. That’s why so many people quit school.
If there’s something I can learn from my experience, that is: “schools can never produce great teachers”. I got lucky when I was in college because I met a unique professor who is a great mentor to me. The reason he’s unique is because it has been passed down to him by former mentors as well. Never did the university made him great (in fact all these mentors have been terminated).
The bottomline? The world needs great teachers because they will play a major role in developing the leaders of the future. To become one is to simply have the right tools and mindset in order to be successful. Imagine teaching one person your knowledge. Then that person shares it to five people and you teach all of them. Eventually it will grow to 25, 125, 625 and all of a sudden, you’re teaching a million people! You will definitely make the world a better place because of that.
That’s it for my lengthy article. Whether or not you will become a great teacher or mentor is up to you. My question then is: Do you take the challenge of becoming a teacher? Are you willing to share your talents and skills to the world? Let me know in the comments section and let us discuss it.