I am excited to start teaching on Monday after a hiatus of a few years in the formal context although informally, I have continued “teaching” and “learning” in a variety of settings. In a recent interview where the lead question was “What Is Your Purpose In Life” the second question was “How Am I Living My Purpose” and the third question was, “What are you passionate about teaching?” Here was my response:
As someone who is committed to lifelong learning, I am passionate about helping people understand the many options they have for growth and change. I believe this starts at an early age and continues for the rest of our lives so it does not matter how old you are or where you are or who you are. I like to connect people to the best version of themselves that they can imagine and whether they do that through introspection, through reading and writing, through relationships with other people or through their chosen work they need to know that they have opportunities that they have yet to discover. It’s a process of exploration, reflection, contemplation, consideration and making choices. Regardless of family background or where you came from, regardless of economics or social standing, regardless of race, religion or national origin or sexual identity and preferences you can aspire to goals that you might have thought previously unreachable. You might call it maximizing your human potential or you can give it any name you want. What you call it is not as important as what you can do when you invest yourself in the growth process mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s being all in.
Going back to the second question about living my purpose, there are numerous ways I am doing that and one way, among others, is that I am going to start teaching again on Monday, a 5-week class that will cover two courses, one in psychology, the other in speech and communication, 50 hours of class time for each subject. While I have, over the course of my career, worked with many different populations and age groups, this one is particularly exciting because I believe it addresses a pressing need that often goes unattended and unmet.
My students will be young adults who are looking ahead to a good job, in some cases a better job, and who want to improve their contribution to the work force and get rewarded for doing so which often translates to more income. Many of these students, for various reasons, have struggled previously on their educational journeys. My mission is to remove the gaps and the obstacles and take them to places they may have never dreamed possible. When I told the owner of a restaurant that last night, who also cares about kids, his response was, “That’s terrific!” I think so too which is why I am teaching again, learning, growing and doing what I can where I am with what I have. What is most interesting to me about this is that when we come to this bottom line, it is really about change. It’s changing the status quo, it’s making needed changes in order to move forward. It is expanding our skills and abilities in order to realize more of who we are, and what we can do to make lives better, more fulfilling and satisfying, whether our own or others whom we can serve.
Some friends and colleagues asked me why I would do this now. And my response, as you might expect if you know my history, was “Why not?” “If not me, who and if not now, when?”