Last week, one of my junior high teachers passed away. He was a good teacher, and when I heard the news I reflected on my time in his class. They were good times. Like many other teachers, he made a positive impact on me and influenced who I am many years later.

Take a moment, and think about a time when you had a teacher impact you in such a way. It could have been a teacher in school, but it could also have been a coach, a university prof, a workplace trainer, a mentor, or a boss? How did that teacher make you feel? Why were you excited to learn from that person? Think of the qualities he or she possessed? What did you learn that you still use today?

That is why I do what I do – to bring out that great teacher in all of us.

My deep-down belief is that when we decide to teach whether formally or informally, we take on the obligation to do it well.

We all know how to be students. Some of us may have struggled and some may have excelled…but we all know what it is like to be a student. We all have sat in the classroom but how many of you have experience as a teacher?

We think teaching others is easy because we have watched the good ones do it. But what about those moments when you haven’t…how many times have you witnessed that “bad class”, (or presentation, workshop, or webinar)? We all chuckle but it is true.

Yet, we think we can teach because we watch someone do it and it looks effortless. What we don’t often realize is all the preparation that goes on before we ever start to teach and the adjustments made during.

Just because you are brilliant at what you do, it does not make you a great teacher. Most often it doesn’t even make you a good one.

If you train, present, coach, mentor, instruct, develop courses, market, facilitate, or lead you are a “teacher”. Just don’t assume because you have been a student, you’ve got this teaching thing figured out. Be brutally honest with yourself. Discover the areas you need to improve on. Because good teachers are always improving.

Teaching is a skill. We owe it to ourselves and to our students to do it right.