I find myself teaching a lot nowadays.
Here is what I am learning about teaching.
The most common mistake made by new teachers is assuming that students are there for information. So, it’s easy to get stressed out thinking you have to come up with, put together and dispense as much valuable and new information as possible. That’s how you prove you’re a good teacher, right?
Stressful! And also — makes for kind of a dull class.
I think a bit differently. When people voluntarily pay money for your class, what they want — whether they’re able to articulate it or not — is to have an EXPERIENCE. A transformation. They want to walk out of that class feeling different, better, more [insert desired state] than before.
Remember all the classes you took in school. I remember so many brilliant professors in college who seemed to know and sprouted vast quantities of knowledge. But what do I remember, so many years later? Sorry, Wellesley profs, I remember very little of the facts, dates and formulae. However, I do remember how each professor made me feel at the end of the class. I remember STORIES that they told. I remember how they opened my mind — or didn’t.
I keep remembering that when I get nervous about teaching. My students aren’t there for information. We can all use Google and read books. They come to me because they want a cool fucking experience. They want to feel stretched — emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. What can I do to facilitate that?
After all, knowledge and information is communicated at the conscious level. And what I teach is how to play at the unconscious level.