The Joy of Teaching — A speech presented to Vancouver Toastmasters Club 59

Geoff Peters, October 22 2016

The Toastmasters Speechcraft program in Vancouver organized by Vancouver Toastmasters Club 59 is a great way to improve your public speaking skills.

Hello fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests. My name is Geoff Peters and I have been a member of Toastmasters for 5 years. I am currently teaching a public speaking class on Granville Island in Vancouver called Speechcraft, which has been a wonderful experience. I would like to share some important information about teaching with you that I have learned from teaching this class for 3 years. First of all: you do not have to be an expert to teach. Secondly, when you teach you can learn a lot from your students. And thirdly, teaching can be a way of helping make the world a better place.

First of all: you do not have to be an expert to teach. What I mean by this is that some people think that they cannot be a teacher because they are not the most knowledgeable about some subject. For example, am I qualified to teach people how to fix their fridges and household appliances even though I am not a certified repair technician?

As an example, when my fridge was leaking at home I did some research into how to fix the problem, and I found out a way to fix it. So instead of keeping the knowledge to myself and my now repaired fridge, I decided to share my knowledge with everyone by creating a YouTube video that explains how to repair your leaking fridge. This video has been viewed over 22,000 times on YouTube. I even received some comments from people saying that thanks to my video they did not have to buy a new fridge because they were able to repair their existing fridge. This helped the environment by causing less waste to be sent to the landfill.

Even though I am not a certified repair technician, I was able to share a helpful bit of information that helped many people have a better fridge in their life. I find it’s a good policy to share information with people and teach them, such as by creating YouTube “how to” videos. By creating a “how to” video you are essentially teaching many people about an important and useful new thing.

Now that information is so freely available online, if you ever have to repair something in your home there are many videos on YouTube explaining how to solve most household problems. This new knowledge has helped many people save money and have a better life.

I don’t think you have to be super knowledgeable or necessarily an expert to share your opinion and teach a skill that you might have learned. Even if you are not a “master” it is still possible to contribute some good and help other people when you are teaching.

Secondly, teaching the public speaking class on Granville Island has made me realize that it is very beneficial to teach, because as a teacher you will learn a lot from the students at the same time. Not only do I stand up in front of the students and get public speaking experience myself by leading a class, I also observe the students own speaking and get ideas from their diverse speaking styles to improve my own speaking as well. We have had such amazing people join the class with such diverse backgrounds: people in all walks of life including yogis, staff of the City of Vancouver, accountants, lawyers, scientists, educators, and executives.

We currently have a lady in our class who is a Grade 9 social studies teacher. She has given very humorous speeches about how students and even she herself are very skilled at giving excuses for missing assignments or handing them in late.

Finally teaching can be a way to make the world a better place. I think the greatest thing someone can do is to use their knowledge and communicate it in such a way that someone else who is having some challenges can rise to the next level or improve their situation.

Many of the people who come to our Speechcraft class are already very accomplished in their life but after taking the class will be much more confident to speak at their workplaces and also in social situations.

To be able to communicate one’s own ideas and stories is an amazing skill to have. To not feel scared to stand in front of a group of people express one’s self is an incredible feeling of freedom and power. I think that’s why we are all here today at Toastmasters — because we realize the value of being able to communicate and to teach ideas to others. We are improving our own public speaking skills at the same time that we are helping our fellow Toastmasters through listening and giving feedback.

As a teacher, as well as a speaker, we should always have a call to action and purpose to our speech. For example, what will someone do after hearing you speak — will they be able to do something new or what new ideas will they have? We should use our power as speakers as a force for good to improve the lives of the people who we come into contact with.

Everyone here has something unique and valuable they can teach and share. I encourage you to teach your knowledge to others, even if you are not an expert, because not only will you help improve someone’s life and make the world a better place, but you will also be surprised with how much you will learn in the process.

Geoff Peters, 35, is a public speaker, teacher, and software developer based in Vancouver BC Canada. He currently teaches the Speechcraft program in Vancouver organized by Vancouver Toastmasters Club 59.