“When you teach what you love, and share what you know, you open eyes, mind, hearts, and souls to unexplored worlds.” I have been so blessed over the years to have the opportunity for my passion for teaching to blend with my career. I knew from a very young age that this was my purpose and that my fire was fuelled by the joy I was given when I was able to mentor someone and facilitate growth. I have always said, that the beauty of teaching is that in the process you learn so much yourself. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have been given to teach & train at Guess? Canada and now currently at Blanche Macdonald in the Fashion Marketing Program– my heart is full!
Being a teacher holds so much meaning and will always hold a special place in my heart. I was looking at the word TEACHER when sitting down to write this article, and so many words came flooding into my mind. I decided to make an Acronym of what being a TEACHER entails in my opinion. And thankfully there is only 7 letters in this word, because I assure you if there were 700 letters I would have a meaning behind each one as I have endless things to say about the joys of teaching. Lucky for you, this will be a short and sweet seven!
T – Truth
E – Empathy
A – Attitude
C – Community
H – Hope
E – Encouragement
R – Respect
TRUTH: Be authentic and share the truth with your students. If you aren’t honest with them you are setting them up for failure. Truth hurts, but harsh realities hurt more when unexpected. They look up to you as someone they can trust – never make them doubt that!
EMPATHY: Put yourselves in the shoes of each and every student as they are all unique souls. The thing that should be done before starting any lesson plan is take the time to get to know each student and continue to build on that. Understanding their emotions and where they may be coming will help with navigating any situation and come out learning.
ATTITUDE: Attitude is everything! You must be the leading example of this! Positivity can take you a long way in this thing called life and sometimes when it seems impossible to think positive it can be magical to see how far forcing that will take you. People will always remember how you made them feel and when you focus on displaying an uplifting attitude it will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on those around you.
COMMUNITY: You can’t do it alone! This is something we need to make very clear with our students – no matter where your career and life will take you, your success is largely influenced by the community that surrounds you. In the classroom, I try to create that sense of community where everyone works together, supports one another, and encourages growth of their teammates. Certainly you need moments of independence and have to work through things alone, but in the end you will thrive when others are involved.
HOPE: There is a light at the end of the tunnel! I feel the opportunity to inspire that sense of hope comes when you have to ability to share your story and personal experiences. There is no better lesson plan than one that shares a real life journey of highs and lows with the positive that resulted from it. You can facilitate their dream and give them hope it will and can become reality.
ENCOURAGEMENT: You can do it! You got this! I believe in you! Who doesn’t love hearing words of encouragement every once in a while. Especially when you are learning and exploring new territory there can be a lot of moments of discouragement and self-doubt. As a teacher you need them to hear that it is possible and they will get it!
RESPECT: Respect is a two-way exchange! It is important to instil the importance of respect and how it is something one can only expect to receive if they give it themselves. It is not only respecting someone’s achievements, but respecting their time, their opinion, their feelings, their commitment, their honesty, etc. And most importantly, you must encourage the value of self-respect first and foremost.
There are so many myths surrounding the profession of teaching:
*Their job ends once the class is dismissed
*That it’s an easy job – just follow the same plan over and over
*If they were good all of the student would get A’s
… Just to name a few
I am here to tell you that they are all False! Of course, with any industry there are going to be those outliers who may prove some of the above statements true. But overall, I know a ton of amazing teachers who deserve recognition for all that they do. I can tell you that my work does not end at dismissal – I prepare lesson plans, mark assignments, answer emails and provide support around the clock on my own time. Each group of students is so unique, and yes you can follow a lesson plan but I assure you each time it is taught to a different audience is a completely different experience and I personally flex to that and customize. Yes, there is a sense of ownership a teacher must take in educating their students, but a great teacher also puts that same sense of ownership on the student. No one is going to hold their hand through life and they need to learn how to take action for themselves. Especially in my case, I have always taught adults and I do not ‘baby’ them…they have to want it just as bad as I do.
Teaching for me is a passion and a love, I do it as I truly want to support the growth of others and give them confidence that they too can chase their dreams and have great success. I am very real with my students and they know so much about me personally, I believe in authenticity and vulnerability being the most impactful way to teach any lesson in life and in the classroom is no exception for me. I personally have so many teachers and coaches who have impacted my live forever and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do the same for others. My teaching journey will be a never ending story as I strive to fulfill my purpose!
“I facilitate thinking, I engage minds, I listen to questions, I encourage risk, I support struggle, I cultivate dreams, I learn everyday, I teach!” – Unknown
XOXO Jody Belanger XOXO
Co-Founder of I Like Her Style Vancouver