Do you have to be an expert to teach, run a workshop, or share your knowledge?
I have met people that say yes, but then I wonder what is an expert? There are some people out there who know a lot about a topic and are certainly impressive to listen to or inspiring to learn from. Do we all have to be at a certain level before sharing?
I was recently mentoring someone who mentioned how challenging it was to run a workshop and she questioned if she had any right to be doing this. Meaning, should she really be sharing her thoughts and beliefs to paying customers when she still feels she has a lot to learn on the subject. I can tell you that she is not lacking in education or knowledge on the topic and I would love to participate in one of her workshops sometime. So why is this successful and knowledgeable woman questioning herself?
Part of the answer lies in the idea that there is always more to learn. We can't know it all. With all the information out there that is accessible to everyone how can we possibly read let alone comprehend everything. Part of learning is sharing the knowledge we have and hearing the responses. The questions we can't answer give us our next jumping off point into a subject. If we are honest about our scope of knowledge there is no reason not to share with others. Remaining open to not knowing will allow your students to both trust in what you have to share and learn how to respond and react when entering into the unknown.
One way I have always approached learning is to enter into a class open to whatever that specific teacher can share with me in that specific moment. It is a chance to gain another perspective. If it is an unfamiliar topic then it is all exciting and new information. If it is a topic I love, then there is bound to be some information I already know, but this person will bring a different understanding or excitement to it then I would.
Of course there needs to be some knowledge on the topic about to be explored. If the teacher brings nothing new or no solid base of understanding to the subject then why teach it? At some point though you have to trust you know enough to share that information with others. Start with novices and see what kind of feedback you get. As you teach you learn how to gauge when you are ready to move to another level, what information is too challenging, and what helps others learn from you. If you remain open to changing and being challenged your students will learn a lot.
Emery is excited that Water & Stone is becoming a reality and hopes this blog will inspire others and be a place to share challenges, success, and exciting moments.