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.