Merriam Webster defines educator as “one skilled in teaching”. So what does it mean to be a “skilled” teacher? Are some people naturally inclined to be effective teachers? Or can the ability to teach be taught? People disagree on the precise answer but it does seem that teaching is some combination of the two. Some people are good at interacting with people and have a knack for explaining things clearly. They may become good teachers. But that’s not all it takes to be a good teacher in a professional setting. Teacher preparation programs provide teachers with techniques and tools for teaching. More importantly, learning to teach means learning to think critically about students in schools and the social, cultural, political and economic factors that affect their learning. That is no small order!
“Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.”
– Joseph Albers
And what about parents? It is very common to say that parents are a child’s first teacher. There can be no doubt about this since children come to school already with five years of life experience! Parents don’t spend a career developing teaching expertise, but many parents embrace the opportunity to learn about their child’s own learning. Homeschool parents, as full-time parents and full-time educators form a special group. While they may not be trained as teachers, they are fully responsible for their child’s educational program and instruction. All parents can learn some of the tools and techniques of the teacher in order to facilitate their child’s formal schooling.