Who was your favorite teacher growing? Think back to the time where you were a student in his or her’s classroom. Why were they the best teacher? What did they do? Now, think of the present. Who’s your best teacher today? Is it a co-worker, spouse, an app, or maybe your child? The truth of the matter is our best teachers have always been and will always be the same.
This past Wednesday I attended a Bureau of Education conference on “Utilizing Cutting Edge Tech Resources in Social Studies.” It was a great conference and I highly recommend attending one, especially one taught by Andrew Sharos. After registering and getting to the room early, I entered the conference room to find a prime seat with the most space.
Everything and everyone around you is your teacher.
I settled on a seat at the end of table near a wall with an outlet to charge my devices. It was great, plenty of room for me to switch between my laptop, phone, and notebook without being cramped. Another gentleman was seated at the opposite end of a rather narrow table which only had three seats to offer. Then about ten minutes in I hear, “Excuse me gentlemen, mind if I sit here?” Sigh.
At first I’ll admit I was somewhat annoyed that now I’d be in a more cramped space for the rest of the day. But you know what happened next? We introduced ourselves, asked where one another worked and made a connection. It turns out, Rhett was the guy’s name, is the fraternity pledge son of two of my former student-athletes’ dad.
Rhett was a great guy and I really enjoyed talking to him throughout the day. He raised my energy level and filled my bucket. And most importantly, he made me a better teacher. During the conference Rhett showed me some of the cool things he and his students were doing, and gave me many great resources to take back to my students. While the conference was great, I learned just as much from Rhett.
And that’s the way it should be.
We have friends but not community.
Too often in today’s society we’re so distracted and disconnected with each other in pursuit of our individuality. Why? Well it’s easy to blame technology, and it is a major reason why. We all struggle with finding the perfect balance between technology and social life. We laugh-out-loud without actually laughing out loud. We have friends and followers but do we really have connections that matter?
There has to be a balance in all that we do and consume. With technology our worlds have become smaller and more interwoven. Our world is now too small for us not to make a difference. We all now have a voice and a platform. Now, sometimes you may have to block or hide a voice after a sixth “selfie” post of the day. But, people all over the world are communicating and able to be connected within seconds. It really is remarkable. But too often we are wrapped in our own worlds and fail have meaningful interactions.
We need to re-connect with one another. Technology is great, it is a wonderful learning tool and resource. But as Rhett proved once again to me, people always have been and always will be our best teachers. We just have to take the time to say “Hello” and connect.
Remember, everything and everyone around you is your teacher.
How do you connect and build relationships in today’s world?
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.