Test Prep Requires a Solid Foundation

Quality teaching is much more than just knowing the answers or having information at your fingertips. Quality teaching is about paying attention to the individual student who shows up to learn. It’s about creating a foundation of trust so that a student feels relaxed, secure, and willing to ask questions.

When a student feels comfortable, he or she can allow a natural desire to learn and succeed. When a student doesn’t feel judged or compared, he or she can focus and think clearly. An easy dialogue arises that rests on mutual respect. 

I can’t tell you how many students I’ve worked with who tell me they’ve gotten turned off to a class—even a whole subject—because of a teacher’s attitude or demeanor, whether it’s disrespectful, arrogant, unfair, or uncaring.

Such teachers miss a truth—that teaching is a personal art. To learn is to receive tools. But if a student has a “clenched fist,” they can’t receive these tools. Part of my art, then, is encouraging an open hand. 

This art is subtle. For me, it has come from experience and attunement to each moment. It means accepting wherever a student is, and emphasizing as much as possible what a student is doing right, instead of what they’re doing wrong. With that foundation, learning can be effortless.

We can’t learn when we are tense, insecure, or defensive. We can learn when we feel relaxed and that it’s OK to make a mistake.  We can learn when we trust the person teaching us to take us as we are and lead us where we want to go.