You may be teaching more than you realize!
A teacher is defined as a person who instructs others, especially in a school setting. There are 3.2 million pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade teachers currently employed in public schools. They teach a lot … but there is more.
How do we learn? We gather a lot of what we know by interacting with someone or something. I saw a two-year-old girl tell her mother the dog’s leash was purple and its hair was soft and white. Mother was a good teacher. What we learn can take frequent repetition, confirmation, and trust to stick. Someone tells us something and we believe. Other things we learn on our own. Sometimes it only takes once!
One day, when I was alone at home, I wondered what happened to the electricity in the empty socket when the light bulb was removed. To find out, I unscrewed the bulb and stuck my finger in the socket. In an instant, I ended up across the room on my backside. I learned a lot about electricity that day.
To teach is to explain or demonstrate. I would have had my question answered in a better way if I had asked someone. That would have been enough.
There are forty-nine synonyms for the word teach, and as many ways to get a message across. A few synonyms are advise, coach, develop, explain, instruct, prepare, show, train, tutor, communicate, enlighten, guide, illustrate, impart, inform, nurture, rear, break in, give facts, improve mind, open eye, and show the ropes.
Classical teaching requires knowledge of a subject, intention on the part of the teacher, and a willing student … but there is more.
A person can learn by observing, and teaching can be accomplished by simply acting. When it comes to learning from seniors like us, this includes what is taught by our good and bad behavior. Lessons are provided by what we do or what we do not do—which is teaching in a passive way. Do as I say, not as I do, is not the way to teach. Teaching by what we do is the way.
Those of us who have lived long lives and are still around to participate have an opportunity to teach by example every day. This occurs with our peers and anyone else we interact with. There are no exceptions.
Outside of our everyday environment, we have children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Everything we do and say can have a teaching component when we look at that long list of specific actions that are synonymous with the word teach.
Do we regret that we did not have as much, or in many cases any, time to learn from our grandparents? For many, the answer is yes. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I have memories of both grandmothers and only wish I had more.
It is said that when we get old, we do not mellow and sweeten; instead, we perfect who we are. I happen to believe that. While we are being who we are, let us pick the best parts to share. The lessons we impart should be especially directed toward the young. What better way to learn about life than from a person who has lived a lot? And that, is us.
By Savvy Senior
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