Sweat the Technique

In 1992 Rakim rapped a song called “Don’t Sweat the Technique.” In it he said, “Emees wanna beef then I’ll play for keeps when they sweat the technique.” Rakim was saying in this line and throughout the entire song that he takes his technique serious. Don’t bother him or don’t mess with him in terms of his technique.

In the second verse he goes on and he talks about his technical style is full of technology. He doesn’t want his listeners to underestimate the potency of his technical flow nor does he want people to sweat his technique. Why? He sweats his technique enough for everyone.

The great ballerina Misty Copeland writes that the pain she went through sweating her technique was immense. She wrote that she endured stress fractures in her legs among other things. I recall an issue with her back and other injuries that took place due to her focus on sweating her technique. She sweated her technique. Misty Copeland was an elite dancer who had at her forefront craft perfection, technique improvement. She always felt she could improve her dancing.

Teachers, could you and I get better in our teaching? Like Rakim and Misty Copeland we ought to sweat our technique. Our pursuit of perfect elements of teaching should be on the same level as Hall of Fame rappers and world class dancers. The great Rakim and groundbreaking Misty Copeland provides examples of how we ought to sweat our own technique.

Which teaching techniques should we sweat? Start with any element of teaching. Start with something that catch your eye or catch your ear or catch some other sense which sparks your imagination and creativity. Sweat your technique for your lesson design, sweat your technique for gaining learner attention, sweat your technique for gaining learner feedback, sweat your technique for transitioning from one point of your lesson to another, sweat your technique with how you deliver your lessons.

Whichever element of teaching you choose to sweat make sure you sweat the technique for the sake of improving your craft. If you improve your craft your learner’s lives are bound to improve.

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