What can a primary school pupil teach? I think I can answer that question because I started teaching right from primary school.
I grew up in the house of teachers – my both parents are teachers. So before I began schooling, I had started going to school; and at that tender age, I can recall watching my mum teach students.
As part of the regular child’s play, I remember gathering my younger ones in a classroom setting and teaching them simple things like how to say ABC and count 123… correctly, while every other kid was busy playing with sand.
Fast forward to secondary school, my passion for teaching continued. This time, I started teaching the primary school pupils in my neighbourhood basic arithmetic and dictation.
Then I moved to a boarding school outside my hometown, where I started taking the junior students, and sometimes my classmates, tutorials as well.
I had to read to know more so that I will not be disgraced. That was how I cultivated the habit of reading outside my teachers’ lesson notebooks. It was so serious that while I was in SS1, I had already finished the syllabus and had delved into the next class’ curriculum.
Looking back at my life as a student, I learned a few things from these experiences:
1. There’s always something you can teach. In my previous post, I emphasized that knowledge is progressive, which means there’s always someone who has a lesser understanding than you do, and that’s an opportunity to teach.
We usually fall into the temptation of thinking that everybody already knows what we know. But It will surprise you to realize that there are millions of people who do not have the knowledge you have. So, there’s always something you can teach somebody.
2. The more you teach, the more you know you don’t know enough: In my adventure in teaching, I always realize later on how much more I need to know about a concept. That’s why professors seem to keep searching for more. As long as they keep teaching, they keep on bridging the gap in their knowledge. That’s because the more you teach, the less you will think you know.
3. You cannot really claim you know it until you teach it: There are things we think we know until you get the class to teach it. Then your bubble will be busted. There’s this spirit in class that opens your mind to a great depth that you cannot access while just keeping the knowledge to yourself. As you teach, the concept becomes clearer, simpler.
4. The more you teach, the more you know.
The final part of the lesson I learned is that my comprehension of a concept improves while teaching it. I really cannot explain the science behind it, even when I really wish I could. But I discovered that it is tough to forget whatever I taught somebody.
Apart from that, if you are a teacher, you wouldn’t want to mess up in the presence of the students; thus, it’s up to you to make sure that your level of knowledge is up-to-date.
If you are looking for a motivation to study more, then start teaching more. This explains why students who take tutorials always perform well, ceteris paribus.
So what should you do?
1. Never think there’s nothing you can teach.
2. Do not allow what you don’t know to prevent you from teaching what you know.
3. There’s always somebody who is dying to know what you already know, so teach it.
4. You don’t teach because you know more, but you teach to understand more.