By Gary W. Smith
The most important lesson I learned through my years of work experience. I realized that by sharing what I learned with others, our tasks were completed more rapidly, creativity rose, and professional opportunities increased for everyone involved.
With that realization I began to identify as an instructor or teacher. My motivation to teach continues to grow each time I witness the positive impact learning and teaching have at every stage of a person’s life.
While experiencing success in the business and corporate world, I have observed that not all endeavors carry a weight of equal importance. I soon realized that few things in life are as significant as teaching and I have always gravitated toward sharing my knowledge with others. For me, teaching has become analogous to a well-selected investment that grows over time.
The knowledge transferred from teacher to student does not stop there. The student adds to it, and shares it with others, which creates a compounding positive affect within the student’s sphere of influence. In addition to helping students better their lives, teaching allows me to utilize my skillset and realize my full potential. I find it incredibly fulfilling to pass my experience onto others thus helping students expand their opportunities in life through ongoing education. An education should not be something a person only defines as a prerequisite to their profession but integrates it as part of a balanced lifestyle.
The best education is when the teacher and student are engaging, learning, and pursuing increased knowledge together.
An instructor’s job is not merely the dissemination of information; it is guiding students in becoming critical thinkers. By doing this, the students are better equipped to solve problems and provide solutions in the real world. When students are taught to focus their thinking through rational discourse, the goal of examining information to reach a conclusion becomes exponentially more achievable. In the classroom, I bring real-world examples and actual case studies from my years of challenges, missteps, and successes, in highly competitive corporate environments. By teaching students from this vantage point, they are able to understand the real-world implications of what they are learning.
Focused engagement is the natural by-product of my teaching style. I have a passion and zeal for the subjects I teach and relating the content in a way that students will actively engage with is a must. I provide examples that easily integrate within a student’s frame of reference to fully resonate, while expanding their ability to think. Instructors who care will find new ways to make learning memorable and create learning experiences that will last a lifetime for their students. I have done this through inviting engaging and impactful guest speakers within the industry who can share their knowledge and spark motivation.
I know first-hand what is required to figure out complex issues through trial and error alone. I also acknowledge the positive impact in my life which occurred because of conscientious mentors, professors, and instructors. The latter experience serves as my primary driving force which I commit to memory the realization that a dedicated teacher can make a difference.
Gary W. Smith is in the final year of his DBA in International Business at California Southern University. He earned his MBA in Strategic Leadership at the same institution. He is an adjunct professor at Baldwin Wallace University, City University of Seattle and Southern New Hampshire University.
How I Teach is a new series of articles highlighting the variety and diversity of approaches to the art and science of teaching and learning inspired and written by clients of The Babb Group’s ProfessorServices.com
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