Why Do Remarkable Teachers Leave An Invisible Mark?
Can you remember the teachers that left a major mark on you?
Pivotal people come into our lives to tell or show us something that then changes the way we see the world. We easily ignore good advice from family and friends but these people seem to know exactly what to say to push our buttons – yet in a good way.
When I was developing my Coaching program I kept coming back to the key teaching principle – ‘Be Clear’ – but couldn’t remember why. Surely I wasn’t born knowing this. Did someone teach me?
I was riding my scooter when the answer landed (as I am when most wisdom arrives). It was the clever work of Dr Nigel Taylor, a well-respected professor I worked with when I was a university academic.
One day I asked him to give me feedback on a paper I had drafted. He was kind but I could tell that it needed more work. Nigel’s advice: ‘What are you really trying to say?’
It was the question I needed the most but really didn’t want to hear. I had imagined him telling me it was wonderful and that I just needed to fiddle with the edges.
But unfortunately there was a bigger problem (yes, even academics start out with muddy thinking).
I didn’t actually know what I was trying to say. And I was trying to say more than a few things at once. Like attempting to eat the entire menu in one sitting.
Clearly in my paper I wasn’t doing a good job at being Clear. I spent more time re-working the paper until I could see the one thing I really wanted to say.
From that day forward I have always asked myself ‘Am I being clear?’
It’s become so natural to think this way I often forget I’ve picked it up from him. His mantra of ‘Be Clear’ has become one of my go-to’s that I check-in with before I release any of my work.
This is because the best teachers leave an invisible mark. Their advice lands so well that we make it our own. It becomes a normal part of the way we do things and we can forget it was any other way. That’s a sign of a great teacher.
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