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May 9, 2021

Our Favourite Teachers Weren't The Smartest

I’ve always been a big fan of teaching, perhaps for selfish reasons.

There’s a special buzz about having someone pay attention to you, reaffirm your authority and possibly even credit you for their learning.

Each time I teach a class or lecture hall, I gather anonymous feedback. I read every response meticulously, as though every criticism could be the reason I’m not allowed to teach again.

Sometimes, the subjects I know best don’t translate into good classes.

Other times, an impromptu session with minimal preparation is the most well-received.

Throughout the entire process, I’ve ended up learning my very own lesson.

Explain vs. Entertain

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

You can’t teach someone who isn’t interested in listening.

Every student is uninterested until you give them a reason to be interested.

A large part of getting students interested in what you’re teaching is to be entertaining.

Throughout my formal education, explaining was overemphasised whilst entertaining was undervalued.

We can all remember being told to explain things better in school: speak clearly, use punctuation correctly and ensure our message was succinct.

Yet, how many of us can remember being told to speak charismatically with smiles on our faces and fluctuations in our tone?

How many times was ‘cracking a joke’ in our assignments seen as unprofessional?

It’s not that being entertaining can’t be taught, it just isn’t taught.

Our favourite teachers weren’t the smartest, they were the most likeable, entertaining and approachable.

Without entertainment, education feels like a social contract. When it’s present, you earn the students’ permission to be heard.

If education is a door to a better life, entertaining teachers are those who hold it wide open.

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