February 25 , 2018 /


I have long been passionate about teaching and learning, engaging with people on their own journeys of learning, growth and change. If you look at my career over the past 55 years, you will see where, how and perhaps why I am committed to that kind of activity. Several years ago I reached a point where I no longer had to work to earn a living and I could choose to do whatever I wanted to do without thinking about compensation of a material kind. The fact is I have been doing what I have wanted to do all these years and that I got paid for doing it was fine. Sometimes it was meager, sometimes it was a lot and that’s beside the point.

For the past seven years I have had the luxury of working part-time, choosing those places and people with whom I wanted to work and who seemed to welcome the connection and the relationship. On my side of the equation, I find these instances to be invigorating, energizing, stimulating, productive and rewarding. I say that in a holistic way, intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. For my clients, my students and my associates, I trust they find our work together productive and satisfying, hopefully meeting or exceeding their expectations. Feedback helps.

Much of my teaching is often informal in the sense that it can be one on one or in small groups, through writing and speaking, leading seminars and workshops and engaging via social media. In a more formal sense, I returned recently to a classroom, teaching students in two supposedly separate subject areas, psychology and speech. However, it’s hard for me to separate those artificially as they are quite interrelated. I hope the students will see, understand and be able to use their learning experience to their great advantage. In fact, much of education goes on in silos, disconnected subjects or courses that are not integrated and interdisciplinary but that’s another topic for another time.

What I want to leave you with here is my rediscovered joy of being back in the classroom. The challenge of engaging these post-secondary students, many of whom have struggled previously with the educational system, is for them to discover that they have much more power to create their lives ahead than they ever thought possible. The academic subjects are merely tools for them to develop so that they will have more choices than they might have previously considered. We have a very short window of time remaining to achieve some mutually agreed upon goals. If these students get half as excited about learning as I am about teaching, we can go a long way toward their success in the days ahead.

Comments (2)

  1. A friend of mine wrote to me today and told me his wife has shifted careers (as she has done several times before). He said “she immediately felt at home in the work.” I so often hear (and have felt) that a big shift was not an option, couldn’t happen or was for someone else. However, what’s the alternative? We work for a paycheck? Suffer through? I appreciate that your career movement and joy are infectious. You bring the joy of teaching, they the joy of learning (and probably a little vice versa too). In the end, they have choices, options that were before unconsidered. They have an opportunity to find their new home – with joy and passion too.


    1. Thanks! That’s the plan and the hope. For some it will probably work fairly well, for others it may be a big leap that either appears out of reach and unrealistic. In that case, my challenge is to help them build a bridge. I like the contagious infection image except for the usual negative implications of those words. It’s hard to share happiness with those who are unhappy. Have to start with where they are and then lead, one step at a time, help them change their mind-sets, shift from a position of blind acceptance of who and where they are at this moment in time to seeing and believing some new possibilities. Then the willingness and desire to pursue a different path. That fits others we know as well. Cheers, my friend.

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