In a few weeks, I am teaching a class that I have taught before. It should be a piece of cake to dust off the syllabus, make a few edits and I’d be ready to go. It would be that way, except for the fact that I elected not to use the same book, and in fact, not to use a textbook at all. Instead, I chose to use a current business book – that I had not read when I selected it – which means I need to read the book before I can even begin with the syllabus revision.
Do not read the above as complaining; as I said, all the extra work was voluntary and the idea of doing it self-imposed. I write about this not for pity or accolades, rather to reflect on what caused me to make such a decision. I guess that it is because at my core I am a learner. I learned by reading a new book, figuring out how to teach it, and selecting accompanying cases to make the points. I usually glean things from each class, but a new book ensures that I approach the course as a student, too.
I know that capital L “Learner” is one of the official Strengths-Finder delineations, and it describes me well, but being a learner is something to which everyone should aspire. Just as the MBA students would likely not pick up this book and read it without prompting, it’s possible that neither would I. I used the class as an excuse to make time to do some reading (aka learning).
What situations do you have that can serve as a catalyst to push you to do things that would be of your benefit, but that you may not do otherwise? Maybe you can submit to present at a conference on a topic that is not your core expertise. Perhaps you can volunteer to do something that is outside your comfort zone. Or you could possibly raise your hand the next time a new task force comes along at work.
Everyone is better off when we are both learners and teachers, whether or not a classroom is involved.