The Real Definition of Being a Teacher

by | Mar 27, 2014

By Jennifer Louden


The biggest block I see tripping up the students that enroll in TeachNow (1006 to date!) is the notion that they need to be original.

They think they must:

  • Teach completely new ideas.
  • Constantly invent new offers.
  • Revamp what they teach every time they teach it.
  • Cover a vast amount of material in every class and course.
  • Invent electricity, find the solution to climate change, and discover the source of human consciousness.

The last item was a joke and hopefully one that made you consider: maybe an effective teacher doesn’t have to be original, certainly not in the way I just described?

In fact, these thoughts will make it difficult for you to teach at all or earn a decent living. They are almost guaranteed to keep you stuck in a loop of despair and perfectionism.

What if your job as a teacher was to:

  • Organize a few key ideas around one theme and 3-4 learning objectives
  • Create safety so your students can open up to learning
  • Tell a few stories that illustrate the key ideas
  • Design simple experiences for your students to test drive the ideas for themselves
  • Use repetition and reflection so students retain what you’ve offered
  • Cite your sources (we call it claiming your lineage in TeachNow)


Notice being original isn’t present in that list.

Taking care of your students and being a good steward of the ideas you care about, that’s what this list will enable you to do.

For your teaching to flourish–and your bank account–drop the pursuit of originality and instead reflect:

  • What do I most want to teach (no matter if it has been taught for eons)?
  • What ideas do I return to again and again?
  • What stories and experiences do I have around these concepts? How have they shaped my understanding and life?
  • Who needs these ideas most? What would learning this change for them?
  • Where might I find those people?

Rest in the wisdom that has shaped you. Your originality will come from how you shape what you teach. And that will be more than enough!
Because you need to Teach...Now

Jen Louden is a personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She co-created the popular TeachNow course with Michele Christensen for people who want to teach what they love successfully. On April 3rd, test drive TeachNow for free with the sample class, Dissolving Obstacles to Teaching Joyfully & Effectively. You’ll learn plenty of actionable ideas to help you teach now!