In the last year and a half, I’ve been doing a fair amount of teaching, and I find it equal parts nerve-wracking, exhausting, exhilarating. and rewarding. I’m always trying to do it better; I actively think about how to improve and make sure I focus on learning from my mistakes. All of these hours of teaching (I’m halfway through teaching my sixth undergrad university course) and I’ve only just realised something. Something so basic, yet so very important, that I wish i could go back two years ago, shake myself, and ensure I understand this simple concept right from the beginning.
Teaching is not about impressing the room with your eloquence. It is not about being all-knowing or omnipotent. It is purely about the ability to teach the concepts you need to. Nothing more. Many students are shy, and so it is not enough to ask if they understand. They need to be able to see it done and then be given a practical grasp of the tools necessary to do it. It’s about them being able to understand new concepts and get a handle on new skills. It is definitely not about me disgorging information, and praying that some of my verbal spray sticks.
Teaching is about the student- it’s not about me.