I have been teaching writers for fourteen years. You hear me say this all the time because it’s true and because, in some ways, I can’t believe it.
I never thought I would do any one thing as consistently or for as long as I have taught. The only thing I have done longer than teaching is writing. But writing does not have to be a professional. It can be a vocation, as well, or it can even be a hobby.
For me, teaching is a profession, and it’s also a calling. To a certain extent, it’s a quirk in my personality that makes me itchy to share what I’ve learned and discovered.
Not everyone has this quirk, I’ve noticed. Some folks are perfectly happy to know things and they don’t necessarily feel a desire to share. Or if they do share, they do so in a casual one-on-one manner or in more of a networking manner rather than a teacher-y manner.
Some of us are just born wired to teach. And you know who we can’t teach without? Students, that’s who.
That’s right. Without students, I’m just a walking, talking tower of blah-blah-blah with nobody to share with.
And that stinks. Trust me. I’ve been there. Everyone thinks you are a know-it-all. (And you probably are, I was.)
But when you are a teacher, you are supposed to know stuff. And you also have to be able to admit when you don’t know.
For me, being a teacher is not hard; it’s natural. It’s normal for me to teach and it’s abnormal for me to keep things to myself.
To my mind, it’s being a student that’s hard. Being willing to learn and to learn consistently, now that’s the bigger job. Especially if you’ve already gone to school and gotten a degree or two.
But I have been extremely fortunate in the student department. I have worked with many thoughtful, intelligent students over the years — some of the best minds in my field. And the more foolish and impatient the business world becomes, the more I appreciate them and their steady approach to professional growth even more.
So I thought I’d turn this Teacher Appreciation Day on its head and take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all of my students, old and new, near and far, whether we met once briefly or if I have been working with you for the better part of a decade: I appreciate you for your curiosity, character, and willingness to stretch and grow.
Day after day, year after year, project after project, students are in the mental expansion business. And that, my friends, is the best business to be in.
Some people may never get in the learning game. I don’t know what prevents them from wanting to learn exactly, but for those of us who got in and plan to stay in, as teachers and as students, we are the ultimate winners.
And we win every time we grow, which is every day in my job.
So thank you, thank you, thank you to my students over the past fourteen years. You are the best and I hope to continue working with you long into the future with new techniques, traversing new topics, as we continue to brave the evolution of the marketplace and forge our success.
To teachers and to students everywhere, here’s to our shared growth, enjoyment, and prosperity!