I always viewed myself as a teacher, not a coach.
John Wooden, A Game Plan For Life
I recently tweeted a recommendation to read Fred Wilson’s blog post on teaching. It felt a bit odd, since he isn’t actually a teacher, at least not by traditional definitions. He is a venture capitalist, but if you take time to read his post, you will hear the heart of a teacher. In fact, I want to learn from him, and have added a link for his blog to my site.
Mr. Wilson proved more courageous than me, because though I had desired to write on teaching, my fear lead to inaction. I never felt qualified, since by traditional definitions I am not a teacher.
Reading Mr. Wilson’s words made me realize two things.
1) We all have something to teach.
2) We are all teachers.
The only question is whether we are teaching?
Perhaps education in America would undergo the powerful transformation we all desire, if everyone realized, we are all teachers. What would happen if America underwent a cultural revolution where teaching became the honorable profession…inclination…disposition?
Imagine if everyone over the age of 60 was asked to teach?
Imagine if everyone who had beaten cancer was asked to teach?
Imagine if capable homeless people were taken off the street, and asked to teach?
Am I dreaming too much? Maybe, but I have talked to people who fit into all of these categories, and everyone of them has taught me something profound.
Sixty somethings can teach profound humility.
Cancer survivors can teach profound gratitude.
The homeless can teach us how fragile life can be.
These are things that few find practical use for in the traditional classroom, but if they were taught, we might experience that society of which we can only dream.
A country like this wouldn’t ask the question, “how successful can you be?”, but would ask the question, “how effective have you been at making others successful?”
One of my heroes considered himself a teacher. His name was John Wooden. I remember reading his books as a teenager, then again as an adult. On each occasion I was struck by the fact that he referred to himself as a teacher.
When you listen to his Ted Talk, it is impossible to miss his love of teaching. It is contagious, so take a listen, and maybe you will recognize your own desire and gift for teaching.