5 Reasons Why You Need to Teach
I was 13-years-old when I started teaching. I’ve learned a couple of things about it.
Photo credits: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-village-60-worlds-paintings-future-jeopardy/amp
Let me tell you a little bit about my experience in teaching. Like I mentioned, I was pretty young when I started teaching. My Taekwondo Grandmaster hosted a program for students who are interested in becoming a teacher, and I was so excited when I heard about it. A couple of months later, I started shadowing him when he was teaching classes with students ranging from 3 years old to adults. A couple years later, I started teaching my own classes, coaching competitors, and seeing students improve with my examples. Now, I can proudly say that I’ve taught 200+ students, coached AAU State Champions and National Medalists, and built a great rapport not only with my students but also with their parents.
In addition of being a Taekwondo Instructor, I also tutored my classmates in math and science through honor societies and private tutoring. I have helped students pass their anatomy exams, practice for statistics, and understand how to graph hyperbolas.
Some of you might think, “I don’t have a certification to teach,” or “I’m not good enough in a topic to a point where I can teach it.”
These are reasonable doubts that a person interested in teaching might encounter. However, doubts can be dispelled, and I hope what I have to say will do that: Your first student as a teacher is yourself.
As I mentioned earlier, I joined my Grandmaster’s Instructor Program when I was 13 years old because I was interested in becoming a teacher. Even though I was a black belt at this age and knew Taekwondo well, I was a white belt when it comes to teaching! I was lucky I had the chance to shadow my Grandmaster to learn the secrets, the language, and the skill of teaching. My advice: Try to find something you are interested in, review and practice the topic, and start teaching yourself to eventually become a teacher in that topic.
Teaching has definitely become a huge part of my life, and now I’m going to tell you five reasons why you should start teaching!
1. You become better in what you teach.
“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” -Phil Collins
Seems like a no brainer, right? Besides that, this is one of the main reasons why you should start teaching.
Similar to how writing etches information in your brain, teaching is another way of becoming proficient in a subject. This benefit is called the protégé effect, where the act of teaching helps the teacher learn the information they are trying to teach. In other words, when you teach someone, you’re teaching yourself!
Another benefit of teaching others is the “testing effect,” which states that recalling past knowledge leads to a better understanding of that information. When you teach someone, you are forcing yourself to recall information in order to teach someone else. Based on personal experience, I was teaching someone statistical probability and by physically talking and doing the math with her, I had a better understanding of the topic to the point. I didn’t even have to study for myself, which saved some time that I used for another test I had to study for.
2. You improve in communicating with people.
I’m not gonna lie, teaching classes with 30 students has molded me into becoming a better communicator and teacher. When you teach people, you need to be able to convey information in the most efficient way possible. For instance, the classes I teach last for 50 minutes so I need to be careful about how much time I spend in explaining a certain topic. Additionally, when you start teaching, you discover that people have different ways of learning. In the Instructor Program, I was taught that people learn three different ways: Visually, Auditory, and Kinetically (Physical Movement). When I became aware that people learned differently, I started adapting based on their needs in order to communicate more efficiently with my students. The more you teach, the better you become in communicating.
3. You build positive relationships with the people you teach.
How do you feel when you have inside joke with someone? Special, right. There’s something inherently pure with a bond between friends, and teaching is another way to build relationships!
As you teach, you build a positive and healthy relationship with your students. This bond between a student and a master is unbreakable and the knowledge shared lasts until the end of time. From personal experience, I have had a student for 7 years, and he’s now an Assistant Instructor of Taekwondo. He’s told me that he teaches what I taught him several years ago. In addition to that, I share so many inside jokes with him that makes teaching more fun and memorable. My bond with him is something that we will always share, and I never would have experienced this if I hadn’t taught him in the first place. In other words, you are fostering a healthy relationship with your student and will build unforgettable memories (and inside jokes.)
Go find your protege!
4. You feel good!
“I did well on my exam!” “I understand the lesson!” “My grade got better!”
These are some of the things you’ll hear when you teach someone successfully and from personal experience, it’s one of the few things I’m proud of. As a teacher, not only do you help other people get better in themselves but you also feel good! This phenomenon called Helper’s High is one of the great benefits of teaching someone and helping them succeed. By helping someone, you are producing a euphoric state of mind due to the release of endorphins, the neurotransmitters that make you happy. Because teaching is a way of helping someone succeed, you’ll experience this feeling as well! I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
5. You become more confident.
I never thought I’d have the confidence to teach Taekwondo classes with 30 students while their parents listen to every word I say. I did it anyway.
There’s nothing more terrifying that knowing your student will be following your example and knowledge as they try to succeed. However, this is how your confidence builds — fear is one of the greatest teachers (and like I said earlier, you are your first student). As you keep teaching, you learn from your mistakes and how to convey the information in the most efficient way possible. As you continue with this method, you slowly become acclimated to your teaching style and your confidence improves. There will come a point in time where your confidence in your craft is great enough that you can teach without feeling worried if you are right or you are wrong.
You also become more confident in speaking, since teaching improves your communication skills like I mentioned earlier. Public speaking is one of the most common fear, but through teaching, you can become more efficient in conveying and speaking. You become more efficient by cutting filler words like “um” and “uh,” and you also will start to understand the importance of tone and volume when speaking. With seven years of teaching experience, I know when make my voice soft to talk privately with a student to fix their kicks, and I also know when you project my voice (without yelling) in order to address the full class. Knowing these communication skills will help in public speaking and make you more confident.
Wrap it up…
These are only some of the reasons why you should start teaching. You don’t have to be a teacher in school to experience this as well. There are online tutoring sites like Cheggs and Tutor.com, and you could tutor friends, neighbors, or even their kids! Teaching is one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had, and I hope some of you will have it as well.
Let’s get teachin!