4 Aspects of the Educator Identity

by | F2B Podcast

A few weeks ago we talked about the “Educator Identity.” In a talk I heard over a year ago now, there was an excellent 4-part description given of a good educator. I’d like to share them with you in this episode.

Full Transcript:

A few weeks ago we looked at something called the Educator Identity and the idea was that there are different identities that we tend to take on as it relates to aspects of our work and of our business.  One of those that I mentioned that I am definitely taking is the educator.

In three primarily different ways, one of those is through this podcast I am educating, through stories helping you learn from my mistakes and get my ideas so you can use them too.  I’m a voracious learner and I know some people aren’t as voracious so I’m trying to do some of the learning for you, and teach concepts in a way that is really helpful and practical.

Another way is I’m working on my You Tube channel.  This is more where I am educating the nuts and bolts of the specific kind of work I do.

The podcast relates to faith, the You Tube channel relates to the more technical aspect of building sales funnels and marketing systems using WordPress, which as a WordPress website designer is where my focus is.  So that’s another way that I am taking on the educator identity.

The third way is in my business itself.  When I do client work, when I work with people I want them to know that I am taking an educational approach to the work.  I want them to understand decisions that are being made.  I want them to understand why we are doing things the way that we are doing them and help me to be part of the decision making process and in order for them to do that they are going to need to be able to understand things that we are doing.  I am seeking to take on this educational identity.

One of the things that I heard a while ago on one of my favorite podcasts, the Stand to Reason Podcast by Greg Koukl.  Greg runs a great ministry helping and training Christians to become more thoughtful and reasonable and good thinkers.  They’re an apologetics organization and if you’ve never heard of them I highly recommend you check them out.  Stand to Reason.  He did an episode about a year or so ago about four aspects that a good teacher must have.  I wrote these down.  They were so important at the time.  I wrote them on a sticky note and then they were important enough to when I was leaving my office job I remembered specifically to write them down inside of my note taking app so that I would not forget them.

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As I was thinking about the educator identity that I was talking about a few weeks ago, this came back up and I thought we might talk about the four aspects of the educator identity.

Just as there are four aspects of a good teacher, a good teacher is just an educator.  I think it’s important to note that these things would apply to taking on the educator identity as well.  That is these four things:  to be teachable, to be patient, to be generous, but to be firm.  Let’s run through each of these very quickly.

Teachable.  It’s hard to be a good teacher if you’re not teachable yourself.  You don’t know what it’s like to learn instruction to be able to apply instruction.  You have to be able to be teachable, you have to be able to learn new things.  You have to be able to be taught new things that differ from what you currently believe.  In other words changing your mind.  You have to be willing and able to change your mind if the situation necessitates that you do so.

Patient.  It can be really hard when you’re dealing with people who don’t come from the same kind of background as you.  It just can’t be.  So if you’re educating people, you have to be patient with them and understanding that it might take them longer to get something than it took you.

So patience.  It matters as you are educating people.  By the way, if you have employees or contractors that you work with in your faith-full business, same thing applies.  You have to be patient with them, you are teaching them, you are molding them.  They are learning things from you but you know different people learn in different ways.  So you have to be patient.

Generous.  Are you being generous with your time?  I think that if you’re taking on the educator identity, you’re probably naturally generous because it’s a lot of work. Recording this podcast and doing the You Tube stuff that I do, etc., it’s extra work, it’s work that I don’t necessarily have to do at this point in my business.  Yes, my motives are clear.  There are definitely long term marketing benefits that I am hopeful and prayerful that this podcast will produce fruit and that also the You Tube channel will produce fruit.  I’m pretty clear about that.  I want to work with you.  If you’re a person that you’re just a casual listener and you need website and marketing help, I hope you call me first because I’m in your ear.  I’m being straightforward about that.  At the same time, I realize that there’s a lot of work that goes into this that won’t necessarily translate into that sort of fruitfulness.  It’s an exercise in generosity.  You have to be generous in order to really make this work. People will know if your motives are in the wrong place.

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Firm.  You must be firm.  You must be unwavering when it comes to things that you know there are good reasons to believe.  Good evidence for your position, whatever it is, basically your business, etc.  I’m just trying to think of the best way to characterize this for the context here.  You shouldn’t be teaching people unless you have come to believe or come to understand what it is that you are teaching by good reasoning.  You should be firm.  You should be able to argue for what you believe.  I don’t mean argue as in the argumentative sense, I mean it in the technical sense.  You should be able to give reasons.

Be teachable, be patient, be generous, but be firm.  Be firm in your positions and unwavering in your convictions unless and until you have evidence to believe otherwise.

That’s the four aspects of the educator identity:  teachable, patient, generous and firm.  So if you’re going to take on this educator identity in your business, whatever it is that you are doing, then I think that these are skills that you need to cultivate and skills that you need to have in your tool box.

God bless you, my friends, and we’ll see you in the next episode.

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