Photo by Athena Grace

“It’s a very ancient saying, but a true and honest thought that if you become a teacher, by your pupils you’ll be taught” – The King & I (1956)

We’ve all had teachers in our lives who have shaped and influenced an aspect of our thinking and the way we perceive the world around us. We’ve heard countless stories, watched several biopics of these ‘teachers’ and how their efforts have brightened another generation’s minds. However, we mostly don’t hear about how such an experience has impacted the teacher, how it has changed their thinking and perception of the world.

To teach or to be a teacher is most obviously associated with an academic environment; however teaching is much broader than that. It is the sharing of skills, imparting of wisdom and passing on of knowledge, and is a two-way exchange, whether it happens intentionally or sub-consciously when you teach, you learn at the same time. I started volunteering with various programmes (with no formal practice in teaching) and was always told ‘You’re really good at this’ or ‘You’d make a great teacher, have you considered teaching?’ I began to wonder what it was that others noticed. I soon realised that when I am ‘teaching’, that exchange of skills or wisdom or knowledge bring out the best in me—the freshness of a young mind, their experiences, stories and eagerness to learn keep my mind young.

Teaching is in popular opinion a thankless profession, yet it is also most satisfactory. To see the spark when a concept or idea is understood makes one’s own mind spark, to observe the keenness of a student makes you keener and to see their curiosity makes you a more curious being.

There are numerous opportunities available, many that don’t require you to have formal training but only an enthusiasm that you can pass on to others. You don’t even have to be restricted to learning or re-learning a subject—if you’ve got a skill or passion you want to share there are outlets ready and waiting for you.

Education is such a vast field with so many varying outlets, there are countless ways in which you can contribute, and here is a list of some organisations that are doing wonders through teaching:

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