This week’s conversation with Johnoi was a particularly eye-opening one. As a student myself, I have never really considered the perspective of teachers so it was really interesting to hear what motivates teachers to take up such a demanding role that often goes underappreciated.
We are all teachers
A really insightful point that Johnoi made was that we are all called to teach, in one way or another. Whether this is in a formal capacity as a lecturer or a teacher or even informally as an older sibling, we all have lessons to share with others. As Johnoi expressed, the value of this cannot be understated and is not something we should try to quantify in monetary terms because the value we share with others has deeply profound effects on how they go on to live their lives.
What’s your superpower?
While being personable like Johnoi may not come naturally to everyone, he emphasized that we all have our own “superpower”. No, he doesn’t mean that we will be members of the avengers, but rather that we have skills that help us stand out from the crowd. For some people, it’s more obvious than others, you may be a skilled athlete or musician but for others, it may be less clear cut. For those struggling to find what their superpower is, it may be useful to ask your close friends and family about what makes you stand out. Another useful exercise may be to look back on your childhood and think about the things that excited you because as Dave mentioned when I went to see him live, “accessing your inner child” allows you to tap into your fearless and hopeful younger self that believed they could achieve anything. Once you’ve found your superpower it’s important to hone in on providing the most value with it.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned The Black Heart Foundation, an organisation funding black people to achieve their educational goals. Ric Lewis is the founder of BHF and below he shares a great message on how to use your superpowers to make a change.
How to become a teacher
Perhaps some of you may be inspired by Johnoi to look into a career in teaching but are unsure of how to go about it. Here are some of the routes you can take:
Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
One or two-year qualification to become a teacher at state-funded schools.
Two-year training program that includes leadership skill training.
Schools direct: https://www.ucas.com/teaching-option/school-direct-salaried
This route allows you to learn ‘on the job’ by teaching in schools so you earn a salary while you train towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
It’s very important to remember some of Johnoi’s words when considering going into teaching. School is preparation for life and as a teacher you have a pivotal role in preparing your students for the wider world. While this is a huge responsibility, this is exactly what makes teaching so rewarding.
Get involved with NCS
Johnoi mentioned how being an instructor on National Citizen Service (NCS) opened his eyes to the rewarding nature of teaching and impacting young people’s lives. I participated in the programme as a student at the end of year 11. It was an invaluable experience I will never forget. Nowadays I have friends who are getting fairly paid to be instructors or help out in some capacity on the programme.
For those of you who may be interested to participate or work with NCS, here are the links below:
Featuring Johnoi Josephs
You mentioned the use of 'emotional currency' in the classroom has helped you as a teacher. What exactly do you mean by that?
What I mean by emotional currency is invested time into the student that is a person and not only a number or a name on a register. Getting to know them and building that rapport. This investment will be beneficial in the future for when those hard conversations need to be had.
What advice would you give to students who have bad relationships with their teachers or lecturers but want to improve them?
First, you need to acknowledge that your teachers are human beings. This sounds so far-fetch but simple at the same time. That being said, seeing them as a human being will make you understand that they too can make mistake and they too have emotions tied into the role as a teacher. Secondly, make the effort by making their job easier e.g. do what needs to be done so that they don’t moan at you. Like your homework or turning up to lessons on time.
Who or what is the biggest disrupter of learning today?
This is a very hard question because there can be and most probably are a lot of factors. If I had to choose I would have to say the home-school dynamic. The relationship between home and school has to be effective for the betterment of the child. When the dynamic is negative and hostile it makes it difficult for any progress to be made.
Listen to the full episode on a platform of your choice: https://linktr.ee/valuablepodcast