I had an experience last week that led me to a flashback of my childhood days when I was sitting in the classroom with a teacher who I loved and learning about a topic he was knowledgeable and passionate about.
Well, it wasn’t exactly a classroom or a school for that matter. I visited a financial planner.
You see, I’ve hit the next chapter in my life. My kids are growing up way too quick, university on the horizon and I’m dabbling in property, shares and assets but not quite sure what way to go. In some ways, it feels like I’ve finished Primary School with solid foundations and I’m heading off to High School. Like any teenager, I need some direction.
Not only did this visit take me back to my time at school, but it also made me think about my own teaching practice. The difference was this time I was looking, reflecting and learning through a more mature lens. I was that student soaking up everything that was coming my way.
Despite the difference to the classroom, there were a lot of similarities. Let me explain my top 10 lessons learned or teachable moments from that experience. I hope that you can apply them to your classroom:
- It’s all about the relationship – Building strong and positive relationships helps build trust, feel valued and feel supported.
- It’s alright to show your vulnerability – My financial literacy is relatively low, and I felt safe to say that. There was no judgement, and we both learned from each other. In the end, I was provided with two things – reassurance and support.
- There is no program or textbook that will replace good teaching practice – I could have downloaded an app or read ‘The Barefoot Investor’, but that doesn’t allow for deep learning and allow for the application of knowledge.
- Learning is not transactional (an extension of #4) – To be effective, the lesson needs to be crafted in a way that we learn together and the learning is meaningful.
- Know what you’re teaching – You need to know your stuff and know it well.
- Goals help, but the process matters – It’s essential to help your kids develop good habits for learning. “Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Goals are good for setting direction, but systems are best for making progress.” – James Clear.
- It’s important to have a plan – If your plan is focussed on getting the process right, the outcome will take care of itself. Don’t wing it.
- Teachers are Leaders – Good teaching isn’t about how far we advance ourselves, but how far we advance our students.
- A personal touch goes a long way – I was welcomed with a coffee and some home cooking. You don’t need to go to the extent of baking for your students, but it was nice to get a feeling that they cared about me as a person and not as a number.
- Trust matters – I just handed over my whole life in the hope that I’ll get better. I needed to trust him.
I walked away from that lesson with purpose and inspiration… and it was all because of the teacher.