I’m a teacher. I teach marketing and social media at IPFW and communication at Indiana Tech. I also do some corporate training, mainly in social media broadly and LinkedIn specifically. I believe, however, that I’m also a teacher in the work I do every day at Asher Agency. Part of my job is helping my clients understand today’s communication environment and respond with strategies that will provide the greatest return on investment.
And no matter what work you do, I believe you’re a teacher, too. If your work involves helping people understand anything complex, anything that’s outside of their skill set, part of your job is to help them understand how it affects them and what they need to do about it. They don’t need to learn everything you know, of course–that’s what they have you. You just need to educate them well enough so they can make good choices.
If you want to be the best teacher you can be, it’s important to understand the role teachers play in our information-saturated environment. There was a time when the teacher was a gatekeeper–the person through which students needed to go in order to access information. Today, things are much different. There are no gatekeepers. Teachers are merely facilitators, conveners, and filters who help their students understand what deserves their attention, and where they can learn more when they’re ready. Our role is to guide them toward the good stuff and put it into context. With all the information that’s out there, they could learn it on their own. We just help share the information most relative to their needs so they learn more quickly and efficiently.
Don’t just think of your role as a teacher being limited to your day-to-day work. You also can teach by writing, speaking and blogging about what you know. If you think of yourself as a teacher, you’ll understand that regardless of what you do, there’s an audience that can learn from you.