|To Teach or to Educate|
July 13. 2011
To Teach or to Educate: THAT is the Question!
by Brett Scaglione
Think back to your time in schooling… everyone seems to have that one teacher that stood out from the rest as your favorite. Throughout the years of being involved at Barry University, I have always been fascinated with what qualities a teacher possesses that made them stand out in their student’s mind as being the “best teacher they ever had.” Every time I have conversed with students on this subject, the reason almost always seemed to be the same: “I learned the most with them: they were able to get the information across in a way that I was able to understand and I actually enjoyed going to class!” If this individual is considered a teacher by title, but is able to reach students unlike other teachers have in the past, are they still to be considered a teacher? What have they done that is so different than that of the other teachers?
Personally, I do not think individuals who are among the pantheon of “The Best Teacher I Ever Had” should be considered teachers, but as educators. An educator is “a specialist in the theory and practice of teaching/education” (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/educator, 2011). In other words: to be considered an educator, one must be well versed in communication, possess a mastery of all related information in their field, and understand their students well enough to be able to relate the information to them so they can truly assimilate information, not just recite it. An educator has a multitude of tools that can be called upon at any given time to be able to explain a topic many different ways. There might be a class where you are trying to explain the theory of hypoxia and it might have to be explained three different ways with different metaphors and scientific based conversations. An educator is able to take this challenge in stride due to a true mastery of the information involved and an ability to look at every student as an individual. This allows the educator to unlock the secrets to their student’s full understanding of the knowledge.
As an Instructor for Freediving Instructors International it is necessary for you not only to become an educator, but a Professional Aquatic Educatior. This is someone someone who truly cares about the information they teach, possesses a mastery of the information they present, lives their lives according to the standards by which their student are held, and is an unwavering ambassador for not only the sport and activity of freediving, but also the safe practices that are a part of our passion. Face it: it is our job to make sure freediving is conducted in a safe and enjoyable manner! Is it possible to ensure our student’s safety/enjoyment if they do not understand all the information?
So, the rest is up to you: are you going to teach or are you going to educate?”