Monday, January 23, 2012

A Teacher's Responsibility

As a teacher, I have always thought about trying to get better by learning how to teach better. As a student, I have always thought about trying to get better at technique (musical, visual, physical, etc.) That makes sense, right? However, recently I started thinking about how important it also is to improve one's technical skill - as a teacher.

Now I just said as a student, it's important to get better technically, but why would that be different as a teacher? As a teacher, your students come to you for guidance and inspiration. Some of them may even look up to you as a leader or role model. If you don't seek to improve yourself, then why should they?

In taiko, a teacher may be harder to define if the group isn't hierarchical, but in karate the assumption is black belt = teacher. Personally, it's really annoying when someone achieves any sort of rank and then feels they've arrived at some magical point where "I teach, you do". Pfft.

It would be easy enough to just say "teachers are students too", and leave it there, but that would make for a boring blog. I believe that taking on a teaching role comes with it not just the responsibility to do right by your students, but also show them that you take learning and growth seriously.

Ultimately, growth is something I believe we should all strive for, in teaching, in learning, in skill, in understanding. It really shouldn't come from what others think about you, but if it pushes you to be a better (fill-in-the-blank), then maybe that's not a bad thing?

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