A dear friend once told me that the easiest way to learn is to teach others. Truth be told when asked what I do for a living I often want to answer, ‘I’m a full time student’ but I realize this doesn’t exactly compute. I spend much of my days teaching private yoga and pilates classes – surely I should answer ‘I’m a teacher.’ In all honesty I never learn as much as when I see the ‘aha!’ moment in a student’s eye and know that what I’m working to convey is known and felt and much like the Velveteen Rabbit – made real.
The beauty of being a student – enrolling in a 200 hour or weekend training or college is that you can fully immerse yourself in the prescribed teachings. Days and nights are spent reading, experiencing, writing and oftentimes struggling to ‘get it’, whatever ‘it’ may be. With any luck, the information is absorbed and to your friends delight or dismay you just cannot stop talking about your new found knowledge.
To integrate the Velveteen Rabbit: in short, the young boy receives a toy bunny and adores him intensely. However, it’s not ‘til the end of his childhood when all his fur has rubbed off, he is missing an eye and the shininess is long gone that he can love him with all of his heartstrings.
As a teacher, sharing my knowledge feels like that kind of love. I am exuberant in learning, excitable as I share quotes and tidbits with friends and emphatic and perhaps annoying when sharing the shininess of my understanding. When a student does their due diligence, studies the material and gets the ‘shiny’ bug I cannot help but find my inner smile.
I am a student because when I teach, I look to make the beauty and excitement and nerdiness that lives in my mind digestible. Every person learns differently and the more I teach, the more I learn about my subject and how it can best be understood. In this way I am constantly a student and so very blessed to be one – with two eyes. Simply put, as a teacher, my knowledge is not enough. I could study and train and fill my brain with so much information that my head struggles to fit through doorways. But without being able to convey my understanding to another person that knowledge stays shiny and pristine in my mind, but it lacks experience. A beautiful car is only a piece of art unless someone drives it. Learning and teaching can be frustrating and exhausting and you may lose an eye – but you'll still be just as loved and adored as the Velveteen so keep shining!