I Believe in Teaching

Dirk - Oakville, California
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

This I Believe

I believe in teaching. Is that the same as believing in learning? Perhaps…

All who have affected my life, living or dead, through books or other media, taught me something that I carry. Truthfully, I remember but a portion of the lessons and wish I could recall more. Not all of it was positive. Some of it conflicts, but teaching and learning is the basis for who we become as we move through life. We make emotional, spiritual, and intellectual advancements that build on the experience and insight of others.

I don’t make my living as a “teacher” but I find with age; that I am teaching more than ever, that I am making a difference, that I am enjoying teaching, and that slowly, I am getting better at it. Ideas, values, skills, and experience need champions, or teachers, to make them personal, valuable and enduring.

Face it, teaching is the creation of influence and priorities through the understanding of ideas and the basis of values. What we teach and how we teach it, is at the heart of what each of us holds to be true. If it is valuable enough to pass along, we hope it will survive to be passed along again.

Each of us can tell of someone who taught us lessons that remain important and help guide us. Their lesons are the ones that continue to make a difference.

Some of my lessons were in academia. Most weren’t.

The most memorable lessons relate to the themes that are common to the essays on “This I Believe”; compassion, love, family, truth, humor, creativity, sharing, faith, friendship, and work (in my case winemaking).

While those may be universal themes in humanity’s advancement, we aren’t born knowing them. The meaning of each is acquired. Its importance, and our perspective, often reflects the nature of the teacher. I believe teaching expands our influence, ideas, priorities, and perspective beyond ourselves and our lifetimes. Teaching is an act of helping, an act of sharing, and an affirmation of our belief in a bright future.

I believe that teaching is an involvement required of all people, in all walks of life, in all endeavors.

I tell the stories that Mr. Wiedergott, my soccer coach, used for teaching us. I thought that they were about sports but they were about so much more.

I like to tell about my Dad because his stories do the teaching and he isn’t here to tell them. But, in some way, his lessons have become my lessons. Now I wish I could share one more dinner with him to laugh, to talk, and see if my teacher could share a few more pointers.

When I was young I was mislead by the cynical words, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach”.

I wanted to “Do”, not teach. I still like to “Do” lots of things, learn lots of things, but now, I want to share too. And, I believe in teaching.