Dr Christine Page shares her fascinating story on her inherent desire to teach and the journey it has lead her on...
"They say our destiny can be seen in the games we play as children; that was certainly true for me. Apart from the little doctor’s bag I carried everywhere from around the age of three, I would also line up my dolls and share with them all my wondrous discoveries about planet Earth and its interesting inhabitants!
Being a true Gemini, I would place curiosity near the top of my list of innate qualities, followed by a desire to communicate what I glean from my explorations. I am like a bee who loves to travel and find the most delectable nectar, carrying it with me, so I can pollinate other plants. When asked whether I’m concerned by the questions coming from an audience, I reply: Questions allow me learn, whether by acquiring new knowledge or new skills to explain a complex situation.
I was 6 years old when I was first asked to teach; my students were younger students with reading difficulties. I laugh now at this scenario as most of my school reports commented that I was an extremely shy child. Yet, given the chance to share information or help another child with a difficult problem, I blossomed. By the age of fourteen, my repertoire of teaching had increased to include first aid, horse riding, elocution and arithmetic. In truth, teaching maths was my greatest challenge, for the subject came pretty easily to me and, as a temperamental teenager, I couldn’t understand why other people were so slow! Fortunately, a wise mentor was nearby and taught me tolerance and humility, telling me that it didn’t matter what I knew, but how skilled I was in being able to translate that information into simple sentences for others to understand, advice I still follow today.
The next jump in my teaching career occurred when I took up a post in a small hospital in New Zealand. During our medical meetings, each of us had to talk about something close to our heart and, as I’d been running a family planning clinic prior to leaving the UK, I spoke about the latest contraceptive research. The talk went so well I was asked to share the same information with an audience made up of every member of the hospital including porters, kitchen staff and cleaners. Despite my initial nervousness, I learnt an important lesson; when I share stories which touch the lives of my audience, everybody becomes engaged.
Returning to the UK, my teaching schedule expanded rapidly both in subject matter and where I was called to teach. I found the thirst for knowledge often came from a desire for empowerment. Yet, over the years, I’ve shifted the focus of education and empowerment from the acquisition of external information to the ability to trust our own inner information and to learn from our experiences. With all of this in mind, I thank my wonderful curious self for teaching me to listen, share and learn."