As educators, we walk into a room bearing knowledge. Some of may have more knowledge than others, some of us may have different types of knowledge, and some of us may just be starting on our journey of gaining knowledge. The most important thing to keep in mind, I believe, is that we never know everything. Whether we are in a classroom of youth, in front of a group of community members, or in a group of educators, there is ALWAYS something to learn and some new way of understanding.
Sometimes, especially when we’re surrounded by other educators, it is easy to get defensive or feel that we need to prove ourselves or show that we know everything. It is in these moments that we lose sight of what we can be learning from others. However difficult it is, it’s crucial in moments of defensiveness or embarrassment, to take a mental step back and just listen. Listen to others’ perspectives & knowledge and reflect before responding.
There will be moments when we will be required to correct someone in their knowledge or to share our different knowledge with others. In these situations, I believe there are certain ways of sharing that alienate audiences and that can make us seem harsh, judgmental and conceited. Just because we have knowledge that others may not, does not make us any better than anyone else; it makes us blessed and should inspire gratitude. This change of perspective can help our sharing of knowledge come from a kinder, more humble place.
I believe that educators must be learners throughout their lives. As learners, we must walk into every situation with an open mind. We must be ready to take in whatever we can and be ready to share our thoughts with kindness and humility. To me, that is intellectual humility.