June 7, 2016

The Top 3 Reasons I Teach

The reasons I teach are numerous. I could write at length on this topic, because the skill set required to effectively support learners is a lifetime work in progress. We adopt student characteristics to promote independence. Then, evaluate and re-evaluate the effectiveness of instructional strategies toward this end.

Supporting clients is a mutually beneficial endeavor. Implementing lessons that meet a variety of learning needs requires educators to abandon comfort zones; through growth we learn to effectively support this in others.


Personal and professional growth are mere strokes of serendipity. My top three reasons to teach involve helping learners leverage challenges, effecting generational change, and supporting creative freedom.

Leverage learning challenges
Whether education professionals, government officials, or parents, someone is expected to accept blame when students fail to meet learning objectives. When test scores are low, are teachers to blame? When homework is missing or incomplete, are parents to blame? When environments are unsafe, are administrators to blame? When students lack resources, is government to blame? We all bear some responsibility in each of these instances. Collective effort prepares students for success.

I teach because learners are not to blame. The learning process is influenced by environment. We assimilate behaviors and beliefs - good or bad, right or wrong - from peers and role models. Students often have little control of this process. Even adults have limited physical control. Many lack knowledge of pedagogy and androgogy, which help us understand education and learning (there is a difference). Through educational support services, clients gain deeper insight into effective learning strategies and master ways to leverage challenges.

 Equitable Education


Level the playing field
Adult education impacts youth education. Young people are often limited in the types of learning opportunities to which they're exposed. Proliteracy reports, "Children of parents with low literacy skills have a 72% chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves." We know that literacy skill impacts math and science performance as well. As a consequence, children of illiterate and moderately literate adults are at risk of experiencing greater academic challenges. With each generation, legislation and societal advancements require the bar be raised in education. Ill-prepared, students are expected to meet more challenging learning standards at younger ages.

I teach because obtaining an education levels the playing field across socio-economic sectors. Systemic inequities experienced by those having low socio-economic status result in low grades and behavior issues. Students repeat grades levels as a result; some lose hope and drop out of school altogether. This downward spiral continues generation after generation. Helping learners leverage strengths to resist low expectations permanently transforms families.

Liberate minds
Practically from birth, children are trained to abandon their instincts. We know that the best experiences happen outside the box; yet, children are expected to hoe a designated row (and do nothing else). If they talk, they're punished. If they laugh too loud, they're ridiculed. If they question the status quo, they're marginalized.

I teach because confident students feel liberated to follow their passions. Supporting this process of self-discovery is our best chance for improving life as we know it. An insightful article in Harvard Business Review makes this point simply. Teresa Amabile acknowledges creativity is viewed as "unmanageable" and shunned by short-sighted leaders (and parents). Her notion of "managing for creativity" brilliantly communicates my approach to teaching. The objective is that learners feel encouraged in this way.

Essentially, teaching to the whole child is ideal. I want students to be college- and career-ready. The most successful individuals and organizations embrace creativity, so I aim to liberate minds. I want students to feel empowered to change their circumstances regardless of perceived limitations. Many need to view the playing field as level to pursue success (a conviction that's different for each person); they must feel their efforts are valued and valuable. Sustaining the wherewithal to overcome obstacles is made easier when students learn to leverage challenges independently.

 Teach to the Whole Child

Learn more about my education firm, Jackson Education Support, and schedule a consult to improve academic performance and increase confidence. Specialty areas include literacy, math, and science. Currently, popular services are private tutoring and writing assistance. Jackson Education Support options help learners of all ages move into more challenging environments.