I love to teach. Specifically, I love the feeling that comes from helping someone understand something that previously puzzled their brain, or in other words, those “eureka!” moments that come with learning. The funny part about it for me, though, is that I don’t want to be a teacher. Again, I love to teach, but it’s not what I want to do as a career. But it is a job that I would use (and have used and will likely continue to use) to help support my current career paths.
I’ve been teaching private music lessons at a music school just outside of the Greater Toronto Area for about 9 years now. In that time I’ve seen complete beginners grow into virtuosos, bands grow together into skilled show-stoppers, and adults (briefly) realize their dreams of finally learning how to turn those guitar chords into cohesive songs. (Some of those beginners-turned-virtuosos are even on my list of artists I’d like to have on my album.) My favourite stories from that side-career of mine will always be those kids who kept working hard to get where they are now, especially those who decided to continue their musical education into college and university. I guess I liken those students to my own journey through music lessons. (For the record, the school I teach at is a branch of the same school I trained at as a musician.) I basically continued through my music lessons until I felt I could play whatever music was put in front of me. I wanted to get into jazz, but at the time that I was ready to do that, the school didn’t have anyone trained in jazz to teach me. So I took up guitar instead, and stuck to that (and continue to stick to it) so that I could start to expand my musicality in other ways. But when I received the call from my guitar teacher to become a guitar teacher, I jumped in on a whim, and consequently stayed on since.
It’s not just music that I enjoy teaching. Any time I can offer suggestions for help or any time I’m asked for advice, I’ll always do what I can. I like to help guide friends and family when they feel like they’re lost, and I guess, in essence, that’s really what being a teacher is all about. Anyone can teach themselves things through reading, hard work, and practice, but we all need guidance and support at one time or another when we’re on the journey of education. I really enjoy teaching technology as well, specifically using creative arts programs with computers, and other music-related topics such as DJing, and Sound Design & Composition for theatre. When I can teach things like this and watch those I teach have their “a-ha!” moments, it’s like a confirmation that I really do have a solid understanding of what I’ve learned.
We’re all teachers, really. Every one of us has something that we’ve learned that can be useful to share with someone else, and that is teaching also. Some of us might be better at explaining things and helping others understand concepts quicker, but we all have something at which we’re an expert and we should never be afraid to share our knowledge to help others on their journey. Be a teacher in your own way, be a mentor when you can, and watch yourself and others grow.
Just don’t be this teacher: