they say those who can’t do, teach.
and until recently, i would have told you were entirely wrong. as a matter of fact, there is a piece of me that would still argue your inaccuracy, if not entirely, at least partially. it takes a lot of knowledge to be a teacher. it takes knowledge of pedagogy, knowledge of content, and knowledge of students. it takes knowledge of self. but i think the original intent of this cliché was misunderstood. no one ever meant to say that teachers could not do anything; instead, it meant that we, as people, try the hardest to teach the things that we ourselves once could not — or still cannot — do.
when i first started, i convinced myself i wanted to be a teacher of math. it had always been a strength of mine, and it had always been something that i felt led me to success. i told myself i wanted to lead others to that success, too, and within the first few months, i realized that i did not actually love teaching math as much as i thought.
four years later, i find myself loving so many more subjects than math. i find myself loving to teach about risk-taking, mistake-making, and trusting the process to get us where we need to be. i love to preach about empathy, vulnerability, and the power of making connections — both personal and abstract. and i don’t love teaching all of these because i’m good at them, necessarily.
i love teaching these because i have struggled with them —
and still do every day.
i think we all fantasize of having the perfect life — of having a life with no mistake or no error. we fantasize this way because we think we can learn from the mistakes of others. we believe we can watch those who came before us and avoid their trials and tribulations, simply by watching them falter, in an effort to better ourselves and better the outcomes of our respective lives. perhaps, in some capacity, that is possible, but what we don’t realize is that by hyperfocusing our attention on the previous mistakes of others, we very ignorantly make other mistakes — other mistakes that have managed to slip under our predictive consciousness.
those mistakes, then, become the things that we focus on. they become the things we have to keep learning over and over again. they become the things that make us struggle on a constant basis. and as i grow older, i’ve started to realize that these are the things we that we teach. we teach our these mistakes and try to impart upon our posterity and upon others in our lives to whom we feel loyalty and love.
we teach others lessons,
not necessarily because they’re the “right” thing to know
or because they’re the “best” way to be —
instead, we teach others the lessons we never learned — the lessons we wish we had for ourselves.