04 Self-Portrait In Three Colors.mp3Charles Mingus
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Hi, I'm Will!

In the past I’ve taught a number of things, like kindergarten, English, the SAT/ACT, and chess.* At the same time, I’ve long been exploring practices of healing and self-development. Teach Myself is a way for me to offer the best of these two practices (teaching and self-growth) in one space.

*For information about individual lessons in any of these topics, email Will@teachmyself.me

Here are some of the main principles of Teach Myself, and some frequently asked questions:

Live, small-group workshops and gatherings

“live”: scheduled at a set time, taught via the video meeting platform Zoom, in real-time

“small-group”: limited typically to 9 participants at most

A live, small-group environment ensures a crucial aspect: moment-to-moment presence, able to support folks' real-time learning experience.

Furthermore, in a small-group setting there’s room for everyone to contribute questions and insights, and the space is personal enough that we can feel comfortable sharing. In this space we all have the chance to be both student and teacher.

Your Presence is the Greatest Present

Take a moment to think of a great teacher you’ve had. Okay, you have someone in your mind? Now imagine the difference between watching an hour-long video of that person, versus having an hour-long conversation.

 

In an hour-long conversation, they could listen to what you say, showing you exactly where your thinking is spot on, and where you have room for growth. Recorded video lessons and workshops can be incredibly instructive (and interactive, to a certain extent), but real-time guidance is an invaluable part of education.

A great teacher sees students in their brightest light. Maybe that great teacher saw more in you than you saw in yourself, and maybe that vision inspired you to become a better you. A great teacher has a kind of broad outlook that in turn broadens the student’s outlook.

The archetype of the "great teacher" represents some ideals that we can all aspire to.

Collaborative, Holistic Learning

YOU are a great teacher! You are an expert when it comes to your own life experience. A collaborative, small-group environment gives everyone the chance to be both student and teacher, based on the principle that everyone you meet (not to mention every moment of your life) has something to teach you.

The collaborative model differs from the “traditional classroom”: one teacher, standing up in front of the class, lecturing as the students take notes. This is the model of many online courses, too: an A-to-B transmission of facts. You watch the video, you learn the thing.

Our gatherings, on the other hand, encourage active participation, via flexible, interactive learning methods (question-and-answer, reflection, discussion, interactive exercises, etc.) that take advantage of the live, small-group experience.

 

These methods invite students to engage the whole self, rather than only the rational mind.* “Self” is a tricky term with a lot of different meanings: we have bodies, awareness, brains, feelings, desires, intuitions … If you’re interested in exploring your inner self in all its glorious, messy, beautiful complexity, then you’ve come to the right place.

 

*Rational minds are useful! We use those too.

“What does any of this mumbo-jumbo have to do with how I live my day-to-day life, in practical terms?”

I hear you. The answer is, “A whole lot!”

 

Everything we talk about in class has a way for you to try it out in your daily life. Test it, see if it works for you. If anything seems abstract, please, go ahead and ask about its practical application.

The Gift of Empowerment

Most of us have heard the adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Part of the value of great teachers is that they don’t keep secrets—they openly teach exactly what has helped them so much. True empowerment means allowing students to self-educate—we learn to walk our own paths.

 

This is a paradox of learning: a good teacher removes the need for a teacher. At the end of the day, we all must teach ourselves (hence the name "Teach Myself"), or learn only at a superficial level.

 

In practical terms, this means that every activity of our classes (question-and-answer, reflection, discussion, interactive exercises, etc.) invites your active participation.

“What if I don’t want to share at a personal level/I’d rather just listen/I might want to give it a try, but I’m not sure?”

Yes! I’m with you. You're free to share nothing at all.

 

You can still get a whole lot out of our offerings by simply listening. A nice thing about Zoom is that you can always opt to turn off your video and microphone, and just observe the class like a ghost in the corner of the room.

Self-Learning

At the end of the day we humans all share one planet, one big story. Oneness means empowering someone else is ultimately the same as empowering yourself. And, vice versa—if you start with (compassionate, holistic) self-empowerment, you'll end up lighting up the whole world.

 

So, self-learning—learning to fish, rather than learning to ask for a fish—is the straightest path to empowerment for us all.

 

On the other hand, roping students into a dependent student-teacher relationship is ultimately disempowering.

 

Teaching people to educate themselves is the most empowering thing a teacher can do.

See for Yourself

Well, there you have it. I tried very hard to put words to these utterly experiential classes.

I can tell you all about the moistness and softness of the chocolate coffee cake I ate today, about how sweet it was and how it melted in my mouth. But no matter how well I describe it, you’ve got to taste it to know its true deliciousness.

At the end of the day, the thing about experiential learning is that you have to experience it to know what it's like.

 

So, I hope you are willing to make the leap and try it out for yourself.

 

If you still have some questions about what this is all about (or comments, criticism, jokes, funny stories etc.), I’d love to hear from you:

 

email Will@teachmyself.me

See you!