This is teaching.

There’s not much to it.

Just words.

And you’re either reading them, writing them, saying them, or listening to them.

We’ve become obsessed with specific lesson plans, new fancy standards, and technology that does amazing things.

But the most powerful tool in teaching is still the words.

When we talk and someone listens. That’s teaching. When we write and someone reads. That’s teaching. When we listen and give feedback. That’s teaching.

I can teach thousands of people with words right from my computer. I can watch a video that millions of others have viewed and be taught together. Or I can sit next to a student and teach through a conversation.

If you’re still reading, then I’m still teaching.

Think about all the things you could teach with a simple post like this… If you’re a teacher I’d like to challenge you to think about how you use your words first, before anything else comes into play. What story can you tell your students to help them understand, what conversations can you bring up in class to get to a deeper level, and what words can you put on an assignment to make it have more meaning?

If the words don’t work, then nothing else you do will make up for it.

At it’s core, teaching is about the words. Words come during the planning process and create collaboration. Words bring an idea to life and can inspire students to action. Words can make a difficult topic easier to understand. And words can be a reflection on what was accomplished and learned.

To that end, I urge you: Think about your words carefully and treasure how you use them. They are still the best tool for teaching we’ll ever have.

This post was completely inspired by Justin Jackson’s “This is a web page” post — his words made me realize just how simple teaching can be when you get the words right…and how hard it can be when the words are missing. 

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