How To Become A Great Instructor

Tips and processes to follow that will help you harness your potential towards becoming one.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” — Sir Ken Robinson

A question was asked the other day, on how to become an Instructor. Thus I thought to compile all my experience together into what it takes to become a great one. Some processes and tips to practice that can help anyone make an impact on the people they instruct.

Instruction is perhaps done by carefully reading between the lines and understanding “how” a person perceives it, and “what” to tell them to keep them on the right track. That’s how a basic instructor works.

“Why” is perhaps the most important factor in becoming an instructor as it is the basis of every instruction and it can be fairly considered a struggle when the instructor is unable to answer a question?

1. What type of instructor do you want to become?

The first step in becoming an instructor is to first define what type of instructor you want to become. “What” is the subject domain, or the area that you want to instruct?

This is perhaps a necessary factor to define as it will be the basis of the instruction that you are going to process, and follow throughout the lifetime of your career as one.

Gaining background knowledge, making tidbits, and notes about what you find in easy to understand and necessary manner. It is perhaps one of the activities that not only help you define an outline for what you want to be teaching.

It also helps the students that you will teach and instruct in the process. Such forms of notes are always helpful for converting complex types of concepts into the basic subject matter.

In this process, we are able to define an instructor’s manual that will be used to instruct the students. For example, If we were to teach English grammar I would use “A Practical English Grammar Fourth Edition” by A.J. Thompson and A.V. Martinet as reference. So that if I slip somewhere, I can fill in the gaps using a structured schematic.

That can also be used to reference exercises that you can improvise to help the students learn in newer ways. The reference is just to give you insight and a process path to help you synchronously instruct the students.

2. Practice the art of public speaking!

One of the many reasons why this is necessary is because you need to be able to convey a point to a huge audience as you will be instructing crowds of people perhaps even a small class. This can help you remove unnecessary fears and anxiety. Plus practicing can really give you an advantage towards conveying and facilitating questions.

It is a necessary skill to have, as you will be conversing while you teach your students thus you need to become a proficient speaker first. The best way to practice this is to speak with people, there are perhaps nowadays many apps that you can use to remove that fear. Download an app called wakie, it has a feature called club calls where people can talk to each other on different topics.

They have a club for everybody. Though you will be speaking digitally in times of pandemic even that can help remove the anxiety as you will be conversing with a lot of people at once, and at times tens of people — so it will remove your fear of speaking in front of a crowd.

There is another course I would like to share that was created by Google Digital Garage it is perhaps something really good that you can use to learn. Google has resources and courses that you can use to become an educator. These courses are specifically used to train teachers, as well as students. It is a goldmine for digital resources with their learning manuals for teachers as well.

Because half of your job is speaking whether it be in public or in a classroom. It is in front of people, what better way to learn a skill that works wonders.

3. Follow the 5 E’s of Engagement — My Practical Educating Principle

After years of being taught by teachers, I developed my very own principle of engagement with my peers and students that I would teach in my spare time. I perhaps during my journey of learning picked up many frameworks that never really existed so I built them for my classroom. To become a great instructor — It is a long journey but one that is rewarding as you progress.

Illustration by Author — All Rights Reserved

This principle is fairly tested, and I am proud to say it works wonders. It actually removes most of the workload that comes into being an instructor. Even my professors use it and at times they do congratulate me on it. This principle can be used for any form of engagement as long as people are there.

These are 5 E’s of Engagement that you need to work on. If you strengthen these 5 E’s whether its public speaking, teaching, or even pitching a business idea would be as easy as drinking chilled mango juice.

Those who are excellent instructors are empathetic, engaging, enthusiastic, energetic, and eloquent in their speech.

1. Be Empathetic

You need to be able to perceive and understand the other person. Identify their needs, and figure out their wants. Be kind and generous towards them, and ask the right questions. The best way to do that is to ask all types of questions but be empathetic in your responses. You are asking to understand them and not belittle them so frame your words appropriately.

When you show that you can relate and understand their sentiments. They will see you as someone they can trust. They will listen to you much clearly. Speak to their feelings, and accept them. Their questions, help them search their answers. Be someone they can be themselves around, and they will learn using their full potential.

Empathy builds trust when your students trust you — they will find it easier to ask questions.

They will enjoy asking questions, and thus will learn more efficiently. It will also help you to see another way of viewing an object matter through their perspective. That is why empathy is a crucial factor in becoming an instructor.

Presenting positive judgments and removing any chances of negative judgments such that in a manner that the student would find it enlightening rather than insulting is what empathy will help you accomplish.

2. Be Engaging

When you speak, people should listen. I know many instructors struggle with this dilemma. Most use force on their students but that never works. Even if they listen, they will never respect you for being an educator. The best way is to be calm about what you say, thus use a soft voice.

The key trick is by using a soft and kind voice. Have you ever seen, why those religious clerics just say those things and your heart melts?

That is perhaps one of the arts of public speaking. I’m being honest, A kind voice can be imitated — I have known people to pull of heists by using the same trick in the book.

You can engage someone when you have a soft soothing voice. People might say, well they are speaking the word of God — It’s supposed to feel that way. But what they don’t know that this thing is a need-to-know trick. Some people may be genuine kind-hearted people, but it’s easy to spot an imitation as a false one but that’s not the point.

An engaging kind-hearted sentiment speaks volumes and people listen.

They pay attention to it more than anything. Your voice needs to meet a specific requirement. I think it’s 65 bpm or something. That is basically the same principle that is used by many renowned public speakers. That’s how it’s done, in any instructing position. But people do use it for nefarious purposes, so don’t be one.

3. Be Enthusiastic

What is your motivation, to become an instructor?

Find it. If you can’t ask someone who does! Someone in the field, there are perhaps many forums for that like Quora, Reddit, Yahoo Answers to name a few.

An enthusiastic individual is someone who inspires, who is passionate about teaching a specific domain. They can be a jack of all trades, and master of some. They would know how to impress and inspire change. To accept unpredictability and tough situations.

Their nature will allow others, to motivate themselves as well to learn, to adapt, and to succeed. A best practice to becoming enthusiastic is to wake up every day in the morning, look in the mirror, and with a passionate glare tell yourself, “Good morning!” Talking with yourself, understanding your needs, and motivating yourself to learn.

An instructor’s part is to inspire as well, it comes from within their experience. Find something that you’ve done that you are proud of. Hold onto that, talk as if you are talking about that achievement. Use that tactic to displace yourself and carry it forward.

It will come naturally when you start to appreciate the little things in your life. It makes a lot of difference when you accept yourself and show a distinct enthusiasm and eagerness towards taking any challenge no matter what the risk but with careful planning.

4. Be Energetic

Have a dynamic personality, as well as a result-driven attitude. You’re aiming to achieve the next goal. Finish the next Olympics, or even find the answer to the most ultimate question we all want to know.

What is love?

An Energetic individual will make it their mission to find all the answers to such a simple question, in short leading by example.

An energetic individual is able to find a solution no matter how hard it is because they work on the fundamental principle of trial and error. Until they can find one, they keep trying as they are fully driven to find the answer to the question of their peers.

Have Goals and Objectives, whenever someone asks questions? Tend to each one using this method as it will make everything easier to divide each question into steps, and then find what “objective” will achieve whichgoal.”

When you possess such a dynamic vigor, failures become opportunities. And every question becomes a conquest. You tend to make others aspire for greatness as well as achieving something truly amazing. This trait keeps you on your toes as well as shows your students the ability to become steadfast in the many struggles of life.

When you are energetic and have a clear goal ahead of you that you need to achieve, nothing can stop you. That is perhaps the most demanding thing, one can inspire even in the calmest of ways.

5. Be Eloquent

You should know what you’re talking about while doing it with the utmost fluency and eloquence.

The best way to become an eloquent speaker is by reading, understanding, practicing the concepts and fundamentals of what you are aspiring to teach. Background knowledge, definitions, laws, do’s, and don’ts — you should know it all. Even if you don’t, there are notes for that. Reference manuals, that help you achieve this purpose.

We all make mistakes, sometimes. Maybe it might be the slip of the tongue or a mental illness like ADHD causing you to miss something while writing, apologies in advance if I miss something.

That is why books, guides, and visual aids are for — to make things easier. You need to be able to break a complex subject matter into a byte-sized content that the student can understand with ease. When you put the concept in the minds of students, the problem however hard they can solve it with ease when you do it this way.

Eloquence is the art of speaking, explaining fluidly. Your words should be as sweet as honey, coupled up with the other E’s of engagement. The student should be able to follow along, understand, ask questions, stay motivated, and be able to solve complex problems with ease.

A simple example comes to mind from my professor who taught us Data Mining, the algorithms he taught us perhaps taught in every “Data” related field. We can easily apply those learned concepts and build neural networks using backpropagation and vice-versa. His technique of breaking down methods was so simple, even a 3rd grader can learn it with ease with minimal effort of course.

This is where all the other E’s and your personal intuition, and subject matter help comes in. To become a great instructor, you just need to follow these simple guidelines. Everything comes in time.

Eloquence perhaps helps you in all walks of life, whether its relationships, teaching, business, and vice-versa. Wherever speech is involved, eloquence remains an art that many can master when given the proper motivation and hard work.

The path to becoming a great instructor demands your passion, if its something you’re great at, and you want to teach it. Then you’d be an awesome instructor. Just keep in mind the following things, If you need any help. Ask any queries in the responses section. Peace.

Remember the 5 E’s of engagement and follow them through the letter. They will not only help you become an excellent instructor but also motivate you to touch topics that you never thought possible. It will help you reach your journey towards greatness. Godspeed, and Godbless.

Thank you for reading.

Stay Blessed and Stay Safe!

With Love ❤️

Riku Arikiri

I write about life, and the hope it bears in a poetic context. 💖🕊️

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