I spent 18 years of my life in school. Let’s see, that’s…
18÷45 (yeah, I’ m getting towards the top of the hill) =0.4×100=40%.
I spent 40% of my life in a classroom, instructed by a teacher. Wait, what about everything I learned from my parents? What about all of those books I read after college? What about all of the instruction I got at my first job? Wasn’t I learning there too?
We go through life learning. From the moment we open your eyes as a baby, to the day we close them for the grave, we learn. If you happen to be the one teaching – you’re definitely learning.
I had the grand opportunity to teach Sunday school for ten years. The teachers had instructional material for each lesson, but we usually had to prepare craft supplies, or learn the instructions to a game. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have superior knowledge of the Bible; I still don’t. With each lesson, I sat down and read as much as I could about the story for the week and any special verse covered.
I combed through my Bible, read sermons on the internet, and even watched my son’s Veggie Tales videos – Bob and Larry are priceless. I learned more about the Bible teaching kids than I ever did at church growing up, sorry, Father McNamara.
The point is, when we teach, we learn something new or re-instill something we learned before. Even the most basic of lessons can hardwire the knowledge in our brains. It doesn’t matter if it is showing your child how to tie their shoe, giving directions on how to get to an event, or instructing a coworker on how to use the copy machine, even if you’re not quite an expert yourself.
I was at a book reading with some children once, and one asked a question to which I didn’t have an answer. I was reading The Bamboo Bear, and the child asked how big a newborn panda was. I told them they were very small and helpless, but “I’m going to have to look that one up.” For your information, they are three to five ounces, and about the size of a stick of butter.
When you teach, you have to prepare for unexpected questions. Sometimes the questions have nothing to do with the topic at hand. You’ll have to prepare for those too. Teaching is tough, but rewarding. You not only spread knowledge to those that seek it, but also to yourself.
George Bernard Shaw wrote in Man and Superman (1903), “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” There are many variants to this saying, like “those that can’t teach, teach gym,” or “those who can’t teach, administrate.” I believe that those that teach can do so much more.