Should all Teachers Teach - Absolutely not

Applying Strengths to Teaching

Today is International Teachers Day and I would like to give a big shout out for those Teachers who teach as a vocation. Looking up vocation in the dictionary - vocation: "a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation" - says to me that there are certain people suited to teaching. I think of the people who currently teach my own children and "do I believe all of them should be teaching?" Absolutely not. Well, maybe.

But wait a minute. Where is my opinion formed from? When I think back to my own school days, there were certain Teachers I absolutely loved and got along with so well. These were the subjects I did relatively well in. Then there were those Teachers who I had an absolute loathing for... I'm sure we can all think of our own Teachers who would fit into both categories and a few in between.

Putting my 'Strengths' hat on, I decided to dig a little deeper. I chatted to my youngest son who went on to tell me about whom he liked/disliked at school and, yes, the 'liked' ones, he does very well in those subjects. My other son, a bit of a genius with all of his subjects, he too was able to say which teachers he like/disliked. The problem, was the latter put my theory of 'liking' a teacher = doing well in a subject to bed, because he does well in all of his subjects.

Let's dig even deeper

My younger son has Strengths which fall on the 'Relationship Building Axis', which make up his top 5 Strengths, these being in the 'Influencing' and 'Relational' Domaines. My older son on the other hand has Strengths from both Influencing and Strategic Thinking Strength Domaines, which fall between the 'Executing and Relationship Building Axis'. Could it be that the younger son's Strengths 'need' his Teachers to be 'relational' in order to learn and, when they are not, he simply cannot relate to their way of thinking and teaching, and thus, cannot 'get' the way they come across and try to teach? However, those teachers with Relational Strengths themselves, he will naturally relate to and because of this, he is open to learn?

One current Teacher who comes to mind is an Academic. In a discussion with a friend recently, he mentioned that 'Academics' simply cannot teach in secondary education as they don't have the skills required to relate to the youth. I agreed with him, but now, only partly.

What I have come to realise, is that if Academics have Strengths on the 'Task Axis' (not Relational but Strategic Thinking and Executing Strengths) and teach high school children with the same Strengths as themselves, it appears to me that it doesn't become an issue, because these people just 'get' each other. My older son is one such person, who is not predominantly relational, so does not need to build an emotional relationship with a particular teacher, to do well in his subjects.

These are my thoughts, just brewing at this point. I need your comments to formulate more of my thinking.

If you would like to find out more about Strengths or already are aware of the 34 Strengths and have any comments to share, please feel free to drop a line here.

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