A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. – Mark Twain
Learning has always been an important part of my life. As a child, I couldn’t go to sleep unless I read a book first. I had a limited budget and e-readers were not yet invented, which meant reading some books more than once. Okay, more than twice. The Outsiders. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I loved fictional stories of adventure, suspense, and life in general. I enjoyed biographies, historical accounts, and memoires. Not only did I love to read, I didn’t mind going to school. I admit it. I spent many an afternoon at my desk wishing I was already grown up, but I didn’t mind sitting in class.
I’m older now, but I still like to read and learn. The Virgin Suicides. The Outliers. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. The Road. I read all kinds of books…plus medical journals. Sure, the journals are a little dry. They certainly won’t make the NY Times best-seller list. But they are vital to understanding my patients and improving my practice. If I can read and I can network with my colleagues, I learn from the best.
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. – Albert Einstein.
I also like to teach. It is a challenge all its own. No one will stretch your knowledge more than an eager student asking questions. Deciding to teach means you really need to know your stuff. Sometimes reading a journal article raises more questions than it answers. So, I practice. I Read. I ask questions. Then I read some more. I persist. Teaching requires courage and a sense of responsibility to the listener. It also means acknowledging that I don’t have all the answers.
At the end of it all, good education is packaged in a way that a consumer will understand. It will be fun. It will be practical. If a therapist can use something learned during a course in their clinic the next day, I consider that course a success.
Ironically, I’m still learning to be a good teacher. Aren’t we all?