I may well have mentioned this before, but I think it’s worth talking about again as it’s so important -
The secret of success in teaching, or indeed any form of event.
I was at the Winchester Writers’ Festival last weekend, and had a quite delightful time.
Everyone who came on my courses was kind enough to say they enjoyed them, learnt a lot, and thought they went well.
It all comes down to three P's -
First of all, preparation.
I started getting the courses ready around Christmas time, giving me a modest six months lead in.
That was plenty of space to focus the concept and refine the sessions.
More than a few people, myself included to be honest, think I prepare a ridiculously long time in advance for anything.
And I would understand why, but it just works for me - so if you find a way of working that does it for you, go for it and don't apologise.
The second P is practice.
I started running through the courses as I would teach them about a month in advance until I was absolutely happy with the flow and content.
But the third P is probably the most important of all.
It’s a bit of a cheat, but it works with my mnemonic -
Put yourself in their place.
Far too many "teachers" (note the quotes) I've met seem to think the job concerns talking about themselves, or what interests them.
As Margaret Thatcher once said… no, no, no.
Or if you prefer Frankie Howerd (and it can't be often those two are mentioned together) - nay, nay and thrice nay.
Anyway, back to the point, and P3...
Focus on what the group want and need, and you won’t go wrong.
Lastly, there's one more P about teaching, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
(See how I put that in caps to emphasise its importance? After my "teachers" to indicate sniffiness. Oh, what a mean communicator I am.)
Teaching is privilege, as I believe it's very much that to be asked, and you have nothing less than a duty to do your very best for the people who devote their time and - even more importantly - hopes to your efforts.