Someone asked me a few weeks ago, what it takes to be a good teacher. I was initially thrown aback by the question. I am not a teacher. My degrees are all in business. I have always worded in human services. And although I was petrified of public speaking in college, over the years I have found my niche in taking complex processes and asking enough questions until I can explain it to someone else or find a way to efficiently replicate it. I never considered myself a teacher. A facilitator maybe. But this was coming from someone who had a attended a training session that I facilitated and they were genuinely interested in learning how to transfer their knowledge to someone else. After some thought I responded:
Never stop being a student
The moment we believe that we have nothing to learn is the moment we lose our effectiveness to educate others. Now, this is not to say that I would ever make a very good elementary school teacher. Let's face it, they are saints. And there is a special place in heaven for high school teachers. However, everyone has the capacity to transfer knowledge and improve their skill at doing it. By determining what the final learning objective is, weeding through unnecessary information that might interfere with that objective, and presenting the relevant information in a way that a variety of learners can absorb it effectively (auditory learners, visual learners, hands on learners) you can teach others. But...and here is where my response comes in...you always have to consider learning a multi-directional process. By taking feedback from those learning, you are able to take your format and add to, take away from, reformat, and revise...effectively increasing the validity of the material/training. Hence, you have to be willing to learn while you teach.
I just hit my six month mark in my job (whew...probation over) and have enjoyed the challenge of learning how to author e-learning modules. Again I find myself learning so I can teach. I have looked towards Relias and seen the constant flow of interaction between vendor and customer. Asking what features are useful. Encouraging participation in development. Like myself, they enjoy the process of learning while they teach.